Rishi Sunak ‘disguised cut’ to youth services in ‘smoke and mirrors’ budget

EXCLUSIVE: The Chancellor left a £470m black hole in sector funds – and Labor said he would ‘force many local youth organizations to close’

Youth clubs to close, Labor says

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is accused of a ‘disguised cut’ to youth services as part of his ‘smoke and mirrors’ budget.

Unions say youth services that help disadvantaged teenagers could be closed after the Tory’s spending review left a £470million black hole in sector funds.

It comes after money for the National Citizen Service, which runs school-holiday activities for teenagers, was combined with funds for the Youth Investment Fund, leaving a sector that provided global funds from £1.03 billion with £560 million.

Labour’s shadow youth minister Cat Smith said ministers were abusing young people after a decade of town hall cuts that saw hundreds of leisure centers and youth clubs closed.

She said: “With the Conservative cuts year on year, it is no surprise that we have seen an increase in anti-social behavior alongside the huge challenge of violent crime and county boundaries. Youth services prevent serious youth violence that costs taxpayers and ruins young people’s lives.

“Under the last Labor government, youth services was a deeply rooted community service, which young people could access, regardless of background. Under the Tories it is a patchy postcode lottery with too many young people who have never been to a youth club.

“Given how much has been stripped from youth services over the past decade by the Tories, this covert government cut is likely to force many local youth organizations to close.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak


Getty Images)

The government said it would “assess” the “effectiveness” of the two programs to determine what additional cash might be needed in the future.

Anne Longfield, chair of the Commission on Young Lives, said youth services help teens and children at risk of exploitation by county line gangs, adding: “Youth workers are a vital to combat the scourge of serious violence and criminal exploitation of children.

“The promise of additional funding is always welcome, but it must now be fully realized. Vulnerable young people should not have to wait forever for the support that can help them stay safe to be rebuilt.”

The funding shortfall came in a budget that increased National Insurance to pay for the NHS and social care, and froze income tax brackets next year.

As a result, the Resolution Foundation has calculated that Britons will pay an average of £3,000 more in tax by 2026 than when Boris Johnson took office.

Economists at the Institute for Fiscal Studies also made a grim assessment, warning that due to rising food and energy bills, working families will face “real pain” – despite the end of the freeze on wages in the public sector and an increase in the minimum wage.

The Treasury said it had delivered on its manifesto commitments to young people, saying the £561m for youth services over the next three years included £368m for the Investment Fund for youngsters, £173m for the NCS pursuit and a further £20m for youngsters. additional services.

A government spokesperson said: “The government will assess and evaluate the effectiveness of these youth programs (YIF and NCS) to ensure a focus on what works for young people. Any future spending is a decision for young people. future spending reviews.”

NCS Trust chief executive Mark Gifford said the organization was “grateful” for the money after the Covid pandemic.

He said: “Given the incredible demands placed on the public purse as the country emerges from the shadow of Covid, we are very grateful for the continued support we have received from the government.

“Our funding allocation will reflect our aim to work closely with the broader youth sector, while providing value for money to taxpayers and enriching experiences to help young people prepare for the world and work .”

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