Scottish independence: Teaching union backs votes at 16

School pupil The EIS believes senior pupils are mature enough to take part in elections

Scotland's largest teaching union has said 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote in the referendum on independence.

In a submission to the Scottish government's consultation, the EIS said young voters should take part in all elections.

It pointed out that 16-year-olds have many other rights and responsibilities, including marriage and paying taxes.

The union represents 80% of Scotland's teachers and lecturers.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: "The EIS believes that 16 and 17-year-olds should have the vote in the referendum on Scotland's future, which is their future.

"Extending the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds will help to foster active citizenship by giving young people a greater say in the decisions that will affect them now and in the future."

The Scottish government has already said it would like the minimum voting age to be 16.

Mr Flanagan added: "At the age of 16, young people can secure employment, pay taxes and get married.

"They can join the armed forces. It is wholly appropriate that they should also have the right to vote on the decisions that affect them, and to have a fair say in who is elected to represent them at local or national level."

The EIS has also said it favours a three option, preferential vote, which would allow people to indicate their support for substantially greater powers for the Scottish parliament short of independence.


More on This Story

Scotland Decides

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    If they are going to allow 16 year olds to vote then they should change the voting age for all elections, not just the independence referendum. My personal view is they shouldn't be allowed to vote and the age should remain at 18.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    16 and 17 year-olds should not be allowed to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Why? Because they don't get a vote in general and local elections.

    If 16 and 17 year-olds are deemed fit to vote in a referendum, then it is unfair and discriminatory that they can't also vote in general and local elections.

    This should be a case of "All or Nothing". Anything in between is unfair.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    As usual a load of arrogant cynics putting down the youth. Its my experience that a lot of 16/17 year olds are very clear headed. This constant youth ear bashing is a sign of nothing more than envy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Not only should 16 year olds in Scotland vote on this but everyone in the UK over 16 should have a vote as it affects us all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    I know some 30-40 year olds who I'd preclude from voting - some of them would be hard-pressed to spell "manifesto", let alone understand what it means.

    When I was 16,I had a definite world-view,and a sense of "right and wrong". I see no reason to deny young adults a vote.


More Scotland politics stories



  • RihannaCloud caution

    After celebrity leaks, what can you do to safeguard your photos?

  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?

  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?

  • Rack of lambFavourite feast

    Is the UK unusually fond of lamb and potatoes?

  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.