Last week I attended the opening of a new youth facility at the London Metropolitan University in our Borough. I am almost tempted to write that again, because elsewhere in the country youth facilities are being shut down, not opened – the victim of the Coalition’s spending cuts.
Except that some local authorities seem to be keener than others to cut back on such vital services.
One such example is Norfolk County Council, which has cut its spending on youth centres by an amazing 100%!
We can tell a good deal also about the priorities of Conservative controlled Oxfordshire County Council, which is intent on slashing its youth services budget by £2 million. According to The Guardian (Aug 24) the budget is to be reduced from £3.7 million to £1.7 million, with 26 youth centres set to close.
How ironic that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, chose one of those now threatened youth centres in his Oxfordshire constituency to launch his public response to the recent riots barely a couple of weeks ago!
In Tower Hamlets, a much poorer part of England than Oxfordshire, we have not made any cuts to youth provision, understanding as we do the vital role that youth services play in our community.
This is our priority. I am bound to ask what is David Cameron’s?