LABOUR’S Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow and the Villages, Laura McAlpine welcomes the news today that The Labour Party have announced plans for a Statutory Youth Service alongside a new consultation.
Laura McAlpine said: “The fantastic news that Labour plans to introduce a Statutory Youth Service couldn’t come soon enough. With youth services targeted for budget cuts, the Tories have created an environment in which crime has soared, leaving communities like Harlow vulnerable to violence and young people left without proper support and opportunities.
“Tory cuts have already decimated youth services across the country with 8 years of brutal, unnecessary austerity. Sadly, Harlow has seen the closure of many vital services including play schemes and The Square amongst many others. I was fortunate enough to benefit from the advice, support and services these organisations provided when I was growing up in Harlow, it’s completely unjust that we can’t say the same for our young people today.”
New analysis by the House of Commons Library indicates that local authority spending on universal youth services has fallen by a massive 52% in real terms since 2012. Research shows that under the Conservatives, over 600 youth centres have closed.
Harlow Youth Worker, Emma Batrick said: “Youth work involves personal and social development and enables young people to have a voice. It builds a sense of identity and a sense of place within society, so levels of investment in the youth service impact not only young people but entire communities.
“Over approximately the past five years, funding has reduced considerably in this area, and I feel that this has really been felt throughout Harlow, which now has very sparse resources. As someone who has youth worked for around ten years and known the town both with and without investment in our young people. I greatly welcome funding for a consistent statutory youth service.”
The Labour Party announced that it is dedicated to creating a quality youth service for all young people that is protected by new legislation. The next Labour government will establish a national body with ring-fenced funding to oversee youth service provision throughout England. The national body will work with local youth organisations and partnerships in every local area to assist service delivery across England.
Labour is encouraging anyone with interest in shaping youth services to take part in a new consultation which will be led by Cat Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs.