Youth services cut by £387m in six years

Almost all youth workers report loss of facilities and services


Youth services have been cut by £387 million in just six years, according to new research published by UNISON today.

The report— ‘A Future at Risk‘— shows that the spending cuts are translating into a loss of services, with 93 per cent of youth workers saying their local authority has cut services since 2010.

As a result, nearly 140,000 places for young people have been lost, as well as more than 3,600 youth work jobs and more than 600 youth centres since 2010. 

‘It’s youth services which prevent problems happening in the first place, by reducing feelings of isolation among young people and helping teenagers to live positive lives’ commented UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis.

‘But they’ve been relentlessly cut and undermined at a time when they are needed more than ever.

‘This is damaging young people’s life chances, especially those from poorer backgrounds, and raising the risk of mental illness as well as anti-social behaviour. It’s vital these public services are protected.’

The authors highlight that youth service are particularly important given the limited opportunities available to young people. 28 per cent of 16 to 17-year-olds and twelve per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds are currently unemployed.

And the sectors future prospects aren’t any better. UNISON predicts that from 2016/17 there will be:

* at least £26 million more cuts in youth service spending.
* 45,000 more youth service places removed.
* 800 more jobs lost.
* more than 30 youth centres closed.

To address the challenge, its calling for reform to the way youth services are provided, including provision of youth services to become a statutory duty for councils, for services to be fully funded and kept in-house, and for young people to be consulted on changes to services.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.