Local authorities need to protect youth services

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A new report from Unison, A Future at Risk, said an estimated £387m has been cut from youth service budgets since 2010, adding that there are about £26m more cutbacks on the way. 91% of the cuts will effect the poorest amongst us. Young black, gay, gang members, transgender and those in social care at the most risk of being failed by the system. Victims of sexual abuse and drug addiction are also counted amongst those losing out.

UK youth services can no longer support the number of cases. Take a look at these statistics and you will be shocked at the scale of this failure to our young people in the UK.

Some 600 youth centres have closed down, 3,650 youth staff have lost their jobs, and 139,000 youth places have been axed.  Further information from 180 councils suggests that young people most in need are increasingly being left with nowhere to turn for support.

Unison compiled information from every local authority in the UK that has responsibility for youth services and asked them what became of their funding between 2014 and 2016.

Unison also surveyed its members working in youth services for the report, on how they saw the changes affecting young people and communities on the ground.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said these findings laid bare the very real damage austerity had done to our communities.

“As a society, we should be prioritising giving young people the best possible start in life. But our government has shown it is willing to slash vital youth services for the sake of short-term cash savings – which is both reckless and short-sighted.”

LYP says:  We agree with Natalie Bennett, it’s the same old rhetoric and since the 19th century governments from each side of the political fence have financially ‘yoyo’d’ the very essence of informal education because basically it’s so hard measure and quantify the outcomes. We must leave the youth work service alone and stop interfering with young people’s lives as if it is a business. All these financial cuts will only destroy the  good work so far and is still yet to happen. At some point in the future there will be a price we will all have to pay as a society for not having the right youth provision services in place. Only time will tell what price that will be! 

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