INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
I have been researching the dramatic cuts to youth services and the loss of facilities for young people in London since 2016.
I aimed to demonstrate to the Mayor and the Government the need to intervene and help councils who were cutting back on non-statutory services that are vital for young Londoners, and support the work of campaigners and young people who were also highlighting this growing problem.
My first report in January 2017 showed that, between the 2011/12 and 2016/17 financial years, at least £22 million was cut from council youth service budgets and more than 30 youth centres had closed.
These figures were from councils who responded to my freedom of information request on time, but further data continued to come in. So, I updated my report in March 2017 with data from 28 councils. This showed total cuts across London of more than £28 million, 457 lost youth worker posts, and 36 closed youth centres and projects.
This year, I have repeated my research and received a more comprehensive response from councils, particularly on youth centre closures.
The results are shocking, and I am pleased that this year the Mayor is now taking action to help. Of the Mayor’s new £45 million fund, £10 million a year will go to local communities, schools and charities, and plug about one third of the total that has been lost. I hope that this money will be spent where young people need it most and make a real difference.
Young people now need the Government to step up as well – to make dedicated youth services a statutory duty of councils and ensure funding is enough to do this. These measures would support our young people through difficult times and invest positively in their futures.
Sian Berry AM
• At least £39 million has been cut from council youth service budgets across London.
• Overall, there has been a 44 per cent youth service budget cut, with the average council taking £1.5 million out of youth services over this time.
• Across 25 councils with like-for-like data, 81 youth centres and major council supported youth projects have been cut.
• Across 22 councils with like-for-like data, 800 youth service full-time posts have gone. At least a further £1.2 million is being cut from 15 councils in 2018/19 budgets.
Since 2011, the cumulative amount not spent on services for young people in London is now more than £145 million.