Socialist Party
| Print

20 August 2014

Youth services: jobs and centres slashed

Matt Whale

The public sector union Unison has revealed that three quarters of local authorities have cut youth services. This will come as no surprise for the thousands of children and young people bearing the brunt of these attacks.

Around 2,000 jobs and 350 youth centres have gone between 2012 and 2014 with these numbers expected to double again in the next two years. Around 41,000 places at youth centres have been lost.


Youth workers have warned of an increase in anti-social behaviour among young people as the places for them to productively put their energies to use have been closed. The cuts hurt the poorest more than anyone else. Youth workers who assist disadvantaged young people with job applications and point them towards education and apprenticeship opportunities are losing their jobs.

It is claimed that these cuts are to save money - this is a false economy. The Audit Commission found that it costs upwards of 200,000 for every child lost to the criminal system by the age of 16 as opposed to 50,000 to offer them leisure and sporting activities.

Local authorities - run by all of the main parties - are passing on these cuts and refusing to stand up to the Tories and their lap dogs the Lib Dems. The cuts to youth services show that these parties put the needs of the super-rich 1% above the needs of young people who just want the chance to a decent life.

There is huge anger in working class communities. The Socialist Party has previously warned that rioting and other such behaviour would be a result of these attacks. This was proved correct in the summer of 2011, and the potential for similar events to occur again cannot be ruled out.

We call on the trade unions to harness this anger. We need a movement of workers and young people that can defeat these cuts and fight for a society based on need, not greed.