LOCAL authorities spent six per cent less on youth services in the financial year 2019/20, the YMCA has reported.
The charity announced yesterday that it had analysed individual datasets of local-authority spending on youth services for each financial year since 2010/11, alongside national and regional datasets provided by the Department for Education. “Costings from the years 2010/11 to 2018/19 were converted into real terms to make them comparable with 2019/20 using HM Treasury’s GDP deflators at market prices to adjust for inflation,” a statement said.
The YMCA calculated that local-authority spending on youth services in 2019/20 was £372.12 million, “a further reduction of six per cent year on year”, the statement said. “This means that since 2010/11 funding for youth services has been cut by 73 per cent.”
While the Government announced in 2019 that it would invest £500 million in youth services by 2024, through its Youth Investment Fund, “it covers only half of the near £1 billion lost since 2010/11, and it is not being delivered quickly enough to support a sector at crisis point,” the YMCA said.
The chief executive of YMCA England and Wales, Denise Hatton, said: “The Government must deliver on its promises, such as those outlined in the Youth Investment Fund, and significantly reinvest in youth services right now in order to change the course of the future for thousands of anxious, isolated, and vulnerable young people.
“While we appreciate that difficult decisions must be made in order to protect the financial health of the country as it recovers from the pandemic, now is the time for areas buckling under the strain of consistent underfunding to be held up and helped to rebuild in order to support their communities.”