Boris plans to hit the most vulnerable young people with his cuts

The magnitude of the mayor's proposed cuts is even more of an outrage than his tantrum at being exposed.

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The magnitude of the mayor’s proposed cuts is even more of an outrage than his tantrum at being exposed

Last week we saw Boris Johnson’s mask slip. It was ugly, dismissive and totally unbefitting of the role of mayor of London – but it was nowhere near as offensive as his planned 90 per cent cuts to youth and education services.

Boris has made a big deal about his initiatives to help vulnerable Londoners.

Yet when leaked documents revealed his plans to cut the budgets for many of these programmes by 90 per cent over the next two years, his reaction was as aggressive as the cuts he is considering; he first denied all knowledge before exploding ‘stick it up your…’

It’s clear that being found out hit a raw nerve. But the fact that he would even consider such huge cuts to schemes designed to help some of London’s most vulnerable young people tells us everything we need to know about his cavalier and uncaring approach to governing.

The leaked document states ‘we are forecasting a 90% reduction in GLA managed investment in education and youth’ services and makes clear that the end of three large projects would disproportionately hit the most vulnerable groups of young people.

There is a good reason these programmes exist – in the face of stringent government cuts to local authorities, someone needs to take up the strain.

Even with these projects, the mayor’s  own report accepts that there is increasing concern over the levels of 17+ achievement, the low numbers of apprenticeships, and high numbers of children living in poverty.

Boris’ target to create 250,000 apprenticeships, for example, lies in tatters after two years of falls in the number of people starting apprenticeships in London. His answer to this problem? To slash the budget to zero by 2016.

Projects to increase apprenticeships and support for people to stay on at school may seem like optional extras to Boris Johnson but for many young people they make a world of difference, helping them to get on in an increasingly competitive jobs market.

What makes it even worse is that the mayor is planning to use charitable donations to cover up his cuts. The paper’s proposed next steps include ‘influence mayor’s Fund for London plans to support young people’.

In particular it forecasts that the charitable fund’s income will increase due to the new ‘Penny for London’ campaign launched only a few weeks ago by the Evening Standard.

I bet when the Standard started the campaign, they didn’t envisage the mayor using their readers’ charitable donations to plug the gaps his cuts would create.

What will happen now is not clear. Boris could have ruled out implementing cuts of this magnitude – instead he lost his rag and had a tantrum.

However, the leaked report may give us an indication of his focus. It concludes that ‘we need to manage expectations’ – in other words, spin like mad.

Boris Johnson’s mask has slipped, and we now know that we can expect not just tantrums in the face of scrutiny but a policy akin to scorched earth, drastically cutting funding to important projects and leaving his successor to pick up the pieces after 2016.

Andrew Dismore is the London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden. Follow him on Twitter

6 Responses to “Boris plans to hit the most vulnerable young people with his cuts”

  1. Robbie Whitlock

    I don’t think his “plan” is to intentionally hit the young people with cuts, instead his plan is likely to ensure the young people won’t be hit in the future.
    He is not stupid, he is aware these cuts will hit the young people, however unlike the blind supporters of the left, he is also aware that they will help on the long term – a concept Labour and the left is yet to fully appreciate.

  2. Mike Killingworth

    I think Andrew Dismore is being naïve to suggest that the Standard knew nothing of these cuts when it launched its campaign. It is, after all, reasonably well plugged in to Tory thinking.

    The use of charitable donations to replace state funding was pioneered in Birmingham with respect to the library service.

    Expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing.

  3. swat

    I came across that session on BBC Parliament and I must say that BoZo’s behaviour was absolutely attrocious. And so was Dismore, who since coming onto the Assembly has degraded into Punch n Judy politics instead of a reasoned discussion and Q&A. Any ordoinary member of the public looking in would wonder what the hell is going on. The sooner both leave the Assembly the better. Its not meant to be Westminster politics Dismore!

  4. John

    It’s true; if the funding for young people is 0 they can’t be cut anymore.

  5. Guest

    Ah yes, cutting now will help people bleed. Because blood loss is a good treatment, as any 18th Century doctor will tell you!

  6. price05

    Yes it is, the plan is to attack anyone who has no financial means of arguing back. They know they can easily destroy the poor as they can’t afford legal representation (saw to that at the start) as they done away with legal aid..

    it’s to take every penny they can and line their pockets before doing a runner and leaving everyone in tatters.. reduced the deficit NO they have not, decreased real term unemployment NO they have not.. they have destroyed this country and are making their friends richer by making a mockery of the uk Government. And not massaging the figure as more outright lying about them..

    AND PLEASE TELL ME HOW THIS WILL HELP ANYONE IN THE LONG RUN!!

    Should be in prison for crimes against the country.

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