Wednesday, July 10, 2019

youth services slashed by 91 per cent.

Knife crime rise ‘could be linked to youth service cuts’

Some areas have seen funding plummet by 91 per cent in three years
Rising knife crime could be linked to budget cuts that have decimated youth services in parts of England, according to a parliamentary report. The average council has reduced spending on services such as social clubs and youth workers by 40 per cent, and some places have seen funding plummet by 91 per cent in three years.
Months after The Independent was warned of a “lost generation” of children being created by austerity and gangs, MPs said young people were being put at risk of violence. Analysis by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime found that the areas suffering the largest cuts to youth spending have seen bigger increases in knife crime.
Chair Sarah Jones said: “We cannot hope to turn around the knife crime epidemic if we don’t invest in our young people. Every time I speak to young people they say the same thing: they need more positive activities, safe spaces to spend time with friends and programmes to help them grow and develop. Our figures show how in areas where support for young people has been cut most, they are more at risk of violence. Youth services cannot be a ‘nice to have’. Our children’s safety must be our number one priority.”
The Labour MP for Croydon Central called for the government to urgently review youth funding and consider a legal requirement for councils to provide certain services. “Young people feel abandoned and they see the gangs as a form of protective service,” a former gang member told The Independent, as police warned that children as young as nine were carrying knives for protection.
The City of Wolverhampton and the City of Westminster saw the biggest reductions between 2014-15 and 2017-18, with youth services slashed by 91 per cent. They were followed by Cambridgeshire County Council and Wokingham Borough Council, with cuts of 88 per cent and 81 per cent respectively. A 68 per cent increase in knife offences was recorded by police in England and Wales over the same period, which also saw swingeing cuts to police budgets.