Chris Mahony 03 December 2018

At least 160 youth centres have closed since 2016, FOI reveals

At least 160 youth centres have closed since 2016, FOI reveals image

At least 160 youth centres have closed since 2016, a report based on Freedom of Information Act requests by Unison claims.

The union says the figures, based on responses from 101 councils, represent a serious false economy as youth centres help prevent crime, anti-social behaviour and misuse of drink and drugs – all of which result in higher public spending. They also promote education and training, Unison says.

The union claims that more than £13m has been cut from youth services in the last three years – compounding cuts of £387m between 2010 and 2016. The FOI responses suggest that around 900 youth workers have lost their jobs over the same period.

General secretary David Prentis said: 'Youth workers are invaluable in ensuring young people have a positive role in society. Funding for these services should not be cut at a time when they are needed more than ever.'

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said it was up to councils to decide how to spend the £90.7bn they are receiving from Whitehall over the next two years.

The ministry also pointed to the creation of the Early Intervention Youth Fund which will spend £18m over two years to help prevent youth crime and violence.

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