§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what part the Youth Parliament will play in the Government's citizenship programme; 
(2) what support his Department has given to the Youth Parliament in the form of (a) finance and (b) staff. 
§ Jacqui Smith
[holding answer 13 June 2000]The Government welcome the setting up of a UK Youth Parliament (UKYP). The development of a UKYP fits with the Government's commitment to involve young people in all aspects of Government and to develop citizenship skills among young people—an essential element of education is citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools. As the Department with the lead responsibility for the Connexions strategy and the development of citizenship through the National Curriculum, DfEE has a particular interest in supporting the work of the UKYP. For example, we recently agreed to a full-time member of staff from the Department being692W seconded to the UKYP for 12 months. In addition, the Department has funded consultancy support for the group of young people and other representatives who make up the UKYP steering group, taking forward the development of the UKYP. And the training process for prospective young Members of the Youth Parliament, currently being developed, will include sessions on citizenship—the UKYP is in discussion with DfEE on the help that we will be able to provide for those sessions, which are scheduled to take place in late October. While DfEE and other Government Departments are helping in its development, the UKYP is independent of Government and political parties and will belong to the young people themselves. It is the young people who will ultimately decide how the UKYP will be run, what issues they want to debate and the part they wish to play in future citizenship developments.