Cuts of £22m to London youth services "could have devastating impact and leave youngsters vulnerable to gangs"
PUBLISHED: 12:39 20 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:46 20 January 2017
A new report has revealed the scale of cuts made to youth services in the past six years
Cuts of £22 million to London’s youth services could have a ‘devastating’ impact and leave youngsters vulnerable to gangs, councils are being warned.
The capital’s local authorities have slashed youth services budgets by an average of £1 million since 2011, and many are planning further drastic cuts in 2017-18.
Figures released by the Green Party show Bromley has cut services by £1.7 million, or 66 per cent - significantly higher than the average.
Bexley, meanwhile, imposed cuts of just £135,000, or eight per cent - the lowest out of 22 boroughs that responded to a freedom of information request.
Newham saw the most drastic cuts to its youth services, reducing them by a massive 81 per cent (£1.7 million).
Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry said: “Government cuts have hit all London councils hard, and youth services have been put on the chopping block across our city as a result.
“The impact of these cuts could be devastating. Good quality youth services help prevent young people from falling into crime and also make them less vulnerable to the exploitation of groups like gangs.
“The Mayor does fund some initiatives targeted at knife and gang crime, but many of these also depend on general youth services being available once young people decide to make changes to their lives.
“The Mayor should be helping councils as part of his Police and Crime Plan. Saving youth centres and youth workers would genuinely help to improve young people’s lives and achieve his goal of real crime prevention.”