False Economy ran from 2010-2015. This site is no longer being updated, but the False Economy research team continue to report at Sentinel News.
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Choose Youth 

Young people’s services change lives

Vital services that support young people are being pulled apart by the devastating cuts in public spending.

At the centre of this new focused assault on young people’s services is the potential demolition of the youth service and youth work. The youth service was created 50 years ago when the national debt was much higher but when there was a political consensus that society needed quality public services and needed to treasure the voice of the young.

Now, with around a million young people officially unemployed and many more in need of support, the very projects and programmes that bring hope to our young people are being broken up. The youth service is likely to be the first public service that disappears as it is an easy target.

Youth clubs, youth programmes, Connexions centres and youth counselling services – to name but a few – find themselves on the frontline of cuts. In fact, 95% of local authority youth services face disproportionate budget cuts this financial year, many are proposing to completely dispose of their youth services. 82% of voluntary sector youth groups anticipate that they will have to close whole projects.

But these services are vital to the future of the nation. They help to broaden young people’s horizons and help them negotiate the tricky path to adulthood. They do this by meeting young people on their own ground, building trusting relationships with them and working informally with them on their own concerns and interests. They convey a universal right of young people to open access provision.

Importantly, they can reach out to young people on the margins of society when other agencies have failed.

Central government argues that the cuts to services for young people are down to local government. But local government blames national government for not giving it enough money to fund services properly. We say governments at all levels should take responsibility. There is a choice. We say Choose Youth, it is a false economy to cut young people’s services.

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