Three-quarters of British councils cut youth services, putting 2,000 youth workers out of a job
Forty thousand kids have been thrown on the streets by the Con-Dem government — as an eye-watering three-quarters of British councils have slashed youth services.
As youth groups worldwide celebrate International Youth Day today, public-sector union Unison has published a damning report exposing the extent of government cuts to youth services.
Two thousand youth workers have been pushed out in the past two years and 350 youth centres closed down as Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has imposed savage cuts on councils.
In the same two-year period the greedy Mr Pickles spent £76,000 from the public purse on tea and biscuits.
A total of 41,000 youth service places have been scrapped — leaving dispossessed teens with nothing to do but roam the streets.
Labour MP David Lammy, who represents the Tottenham constituency where summer riots began three years ago, said the report’s findings were “deeply disturbing.”
He told the Star: “In my constituency I frequently see the problems that arise when young people feel cut off from society, have their services abolished and are left without facilities to keep them engaged.
“That so many of these facilities have closed in such a short time is testament to the pressures that local councils are coming under from swingeing government cuts. Austerity should never be an excuse to cut investment in our young people.
“Compared to young people today, David Cameron and George Osborne’s generation had it easy. Instead of pulling up the drawbridge on the potential of the next generation, they should be doing all they can to give young people the same opportunities that they were lucky enough to enjoy.”
The biggest slasher was Warwickshire — where the youth service was plundered with a funding cut of 56 per cent last year.
Havering also took the machete to its service in 2013 — robbing young people of 39 per cent of youth club funds.
And the previous year, Essex and Surrey cut 44 per cent and 43 per cent of their youth budgets. All of these are Tory-controlled councils.
One youth worker quoted in the report detailed the shocking effects of budget cuts in their area.
“Most of the professional youth workers were made redundant,” they said.
“The few that remained were employed in other jobs. There is no professional youth service here anymore.”
Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Cuts to youth services lead to increased poverty, crime, higher youth unemployment and an increase in teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
“Government spending cuts are creating a crisis with skilled workers forced out of the profession, with an increasing reliance on untrained staff and volunteers to work with vulnerable young people.”
The research was based on Freedom of Information Act responses from 168 councils across Britain.