British Youth Council calls for pre-2010 funding levels for youth services

By Adam Offord

| 18 March 2015

Funding levels for youth services must be restored to pre-austerity levels if young people are to thrive, says the British Youth Council (BYC).

BYC has called for greater consultation of young people when decisions about funding cuts by councils are being made. Image: BYC

BYC believes that youth services funding should be given greater priority by councils to ensure the needs of young people are properly met, in light of cuts of nearly £500m since 2010.

Youth services spending was £1.2bn in 2010/11 but fell 36 per cent to £791m in 2012/13, and dropped to £712m in 2013/14 according to the most recent section 251 data.

The call comes in the “Our Parliament, Our Vision” manifesto, which has been developed over the past year through consultations with young people from the UK, followed by a debate and vote by members in September and finally an online ballot of members at the beginning of this year.
The manifesto is also calling for better access to quality mental health services, with greater investment needed to make sure services are age appropriate, youth friendly and accessible on both a local and national level for young people aged 16 to 25.
Additionally, the youth council wants to see everyone paid the living wage to provide a route out of poverty, 16-year-olds be given the right to vote and to ensure quality first aid is made into a compulsory subject for all children in schools to equip young people with the knowledge of life-saving procedures.

BYC member Rozeena Hussain, of Haringey Youth Council, called on councils to involve young people more in decision making before cuts to "important services, such as the youth council and Youth Parliament" are made.
She said: “Policymakers feel that young people are disengaged from politics and drowned with apathy, this is probably a consequence of such poorly reasoned acts like massive budget cuts.
“Young people feel powerless when such decisions are made and therefore as a consequence feel disengaged from youth democracy and their communities.”
Mita Desai, BYC chair, added: “In the lead up to this year’s general election it is important that we remind everyone that young people are interested in the issues.
“We have launched our five campaigns today because we want more politicians to pay attention to the youth vote."
The BYC manifesto is also available as a video.

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