Local MP criticises impact of government cuts on young people as Labour launches youth services consultation

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01 Aug 2018
Margaret Greenwood, MP for Wirral West, has spoken out against the effect of the government’s austerity measures on young people as the Labour Party announced a bold new vision for youth services in England.

Labour wants to introduce new legislation that requires every local authority across England to provide a minimum level of support for young people. To make this happen the next Labour government will establish a national body with dedicated ring-fenced funding to oversee youth service provision across England.

In Wirral, total net spending on youth services fell from £6.67 million in 2011/12 to just £3 million in 2016/17. That equates to a drop of £3.67 million or 55.1%.

Across the north-west, the figure has fallen from £115 million in 2011/12 to £49 million in 2016/17, while across England as a whole there has been more than a 50% decrease from £787.2 million to £387.6 million.

Margaret Greenwood, Labour MP for Wirral West said:

“The Conservatives are neglecting our young people when they should be investing in them.

“A generation of young people is missing out because of the government's fixation with austerity.

“Youth services have a key role to play in supporting young people and in providing them with opportunities to get together and engage in all sorts of activities. They also play a vital role in offering young people advice and guidance.

“However, with direct government funding to local authorities falling by around 50% since 2010, youth services have seen significant cuts as councils seek to make savings.”

Research by Unison shows that from 2012 to 2016, over 600 youth centres have closed, over 3,500 youth work jobs have been lost and almost 140,000 places for young people have been cut.

Unison also asked youth workers about the impact of youth service cuts. 83% said they were having an effect on crime and antisocial behaviour, and 71% said it was now harder for young people to stay in formal education.

Margaret Greenwood added:

"We should be making sure that young people have the support and environment they need to fulfil their potential. Youth services have a crucial part to play in this.

"Youth services are important too for addressing anti-social behaviour.

“I urge anyone in Wirral West who wants to improve the opportunities available to young people to get involved with the consultation.

“Together, we will rebuild youth services to create a system that works for the many, not the few.”

You can find out more about Labour’s vision for youth services and the consultation by visiting https://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/commissions/education/youth-services
where you can also take part. You can also get involved by sending an e-mail to youthservices@labour.org.uk or write to the office of Cat Smith MP – Labour’s Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs – at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.