William Eichler 25 September 2019

Youth service spending set to hit ‘lowest point in a generation’

The young persons charity YMCA has warned that spending on local youth services is at ‘breaking point’ with a nearly 70% decrease in funding in a decade.

An analysis of 84 councils across England reveals that while the average spend on youth services per local authority in 2010 was £7.79m, planned average spend for 2019/20 is just £2.45m.

This represents a 69% decline in spending.

according to YMCA, 29% of local authorities have planned cuts that would see their spending on youth services decline by 80% since 2010/11,.

The vast majority of local authorities (83%) have planned to cut their funding in half over the nine-year period.

‘Youth services offer a vital lifeline within local communities, providing young people with support, advice and a place to go when they need it most,’ said Denise Hatton, chief executive of YMCA England & Wales.

‘The year-on-year cuts to youth services are not without consequences and we are already seeing the impact of these cuts in communities across the country.’

YMCA also found that there were quite a few areas with planned spending cuts of 80% or more. Liverpool, for example, is planning cuts of 86%, and Southampton and Gateshead are planning 94% and 96% cuts respectively.

The chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, Cllr Judith Blake, warns that because of Government cuts and demand pressures councils have had to divert money from youth services to children’s social care.

They have been forced to cut spending on youth services, by 52%, from £652m in 2010/11 to £352m in 2017/18, she said.

Referring to the YMCA report, Cllr Blake added: ‘This report provides further evidence of the need for adequate funding for councils’ youth services to make sure that every young person gets the support they need to live healthy, safe and fulfilling lives.’

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