Cuts Watch #375: Children and Young People Now report on the scale of the cuts in council youth services
Children and Young People Now report on the scale of the cuts in council youth services. A survey of council youth services chiefs reveals that up to 3,000 local authority youth workers face losing their jobs by April 2012 as youth services grapple with average budget cuts of 28 per cent in the next financial year. The study of youth service chiefs was conducted by the Confederation of Heads of Young People’s Services (Chyps).
The findings are comparable with those of another recent survey, conducted by Unite the union in conjunction with Children and Young People Now, which showed that more than a quarter of youth services in England face cuts of between 21 and 30 per cent.
The Chyps study found the services most affected will be open-access youth clubs and centres. Ninety-six per cent of the 41 heads of youth services that responded said these would either be reduced or stopped altogether by April 2012.
The Unite survey revealed a similar picture. Twenty-seven per cent of its youth service members who responded said that youth clubs and centres would be most affected by the cuts. The same percentage said that Connexions or other information, advice and guidance services would be hit by spending reductions.
The Unite survey also revealed the extent of some of the cuts taking place in some local authorities. In Warwickshire and Tameside for example, there are plans to scrap the existing youth service altogether, while in Hampshire, 150 full-time equivalent integrated youth support service posts out of a possible 255 jobs could be lost.
David Wright, Chief Executive of Chyps, said
Local authorities appeared to be passing on cuts disproportionately to youth services.
Liam Preston, Chair of the British Youth Council (BYC), described the extent of the cuts revealed in the surveys as a massive blow to young people:
They must equate to the loss of tens of thousands of opportunities and services for young people…From our perspective as the users and losers of these services, we cannot afford as a society to make short-term savings that might result in long-term damage. These are not just services to meet immediate needs today, but represent investment in prevention of more costly interventions tomorrow.