William Eichler 15 May 2019

Councils ‘in the dark’ over youth service funding

Local authority leaders have warned that councils ‘remain in the dark’ over youth service funding that helps tackle knife crime and county lines drug dealing.

Town halls set their 2019/20 budgets in March, but they are still waiting to find out how much they will have to spend to tackle youth crime, according to the Local Government Association.

Youth offending teams (YOTs) have helped prevent young people getting involved in crime, with an 86% drop in First Time Entrants to the youth justice system and a 78% drop in arrests over the last decade.

The number of youth cautions handed out dropped by more than 100,000 – or 91% – in the same period.

Despite these successes, however, funding for youth services has been halved from £145m in 2010/11 to £71.5m in 2018/19.

The LGO has urged the Ministry of Justice to announce this year’s funding to avoid hampering efforts to plan services that support young people.

‘The wait goes on for councils to find out how much money they will receive this year to fund youth offending teams,’ said Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.

‘This unacceptable uncertainty is making it extremely difficult for them to plan the services which play a vital role in supporting young people and preventing them from getting involved in criminal activity such as knife crime or county lines drug dealing.

‘Councils are determined to do all they can to protect young people and keep them safe, but their efforts are being seriously hampered by the lack of clarity around such a vital source of funding.’

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