Campaigners claim Haringey cut youth services despite budget rise

By Gabriella Jozwiak, Thursday 14 March 2013

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Local campaigners have accused Haringey of making unnecessary cuts to youth services, after discovering that the council's youth budget has increased.

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Haringey Council denies the campaigners' claims. Image: Gemma Spence

A report compiled by the grassroots campaigners said that Haringey Council's official documents state that it would cut its youth services budget from £2m to £500,000 in 2011/12.

Further research by the group, which consists of 12 young people and six adults, found that the number of hours of youth provision offered by the council dropped from more than 130 a week in 2010 to just 20 in 2013.

But in a response to a Freedom of Information request made by the group, the council told the group that its youth services budget for 2012/13 had in fact risen to £2.1m.

Campaigner Seema Chandwani said the unnamed group wants the council to carry out an audit to explain the discrepancy.

"Between October 2010 and April 2011, young people lost over 80 per cent of their services under the guise of budget cuts, which we now understand did not happen," said Chandwani.

“A lot has occurred in that time, including riots which devastated the Tottenham community. I hope the council work swiftly to rectify this.”

Haringey Council denied the group's claims, saying the figures quoted by the group are incomparable.

“Comparing 2010 and 2012 figures is not comparing like for like,” said the spokeswoman.

“The 2010 figure relates solely to the then youth service provision, which has since been combined with other services for young people to create the new youth, community and participation service.
 
“We are in the process of looking carefully at this report so that we can come to a considered view on how best to respond to the recommendations made.
 
“Following unprecedented cuts to the council’s budget, we have been redesigning the way in which we work with young people to focus more strongly on those most in need.”

The spokeswoman also said the group’s measure of “hours of provision per week” was too simplistic, and that the council had committed to investing £400,000 for each year over the next three years in young people’s services.

The group's report was published ahead of an overview and scrutiny meeting taking place at Haringey Council today, where the group’s concerns will be discussed.

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