Labour criticises government over 'delayed' youth strategy

By Joe Lepper

| 14 August 2017

The Labour Party has criticised the government for its failure to deliver its pledge to publish a new youth strategy.

Labour said the government is letting down disadvantaged young people

Last November, former youth minister Rob Wilson announced a new policy statement to create "a clear narrative and vision" for how to help young people would be published in "the coming months".

Since then, there has been no announcements on whether the drafting of the statement is underway, what it may contain or when it will launch.

Cat Smith, Labour's shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs, called on the government to stop delaying the release of the strategy and raised concerns that youth policy had been downgraded within government since responsibility for it was transferred to sports minister Tracey Crouch in June.

In a joint statement with shadow secretary of state for international development Kate Osamor, Smith said: "Youth policy is not listed as a responsibility of the new minister, there has been no official announcement or clarification on this decision, and we are still waiting for the department's delayed ‘youth policy statement'."

In the statement - released to mark International Youth Day on 12 August - Smith added that the government is failing to prioritise the needs of young people.

"Not only have they been disproportionately hit by years of austerity, but the current cabinet has no strategy in place to ensure that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people get the support they need," she said.

Following transfer of the youth brief to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) following June's general election, Paul Miller, chief executive of the National Youth Agency, said he had been "reassured that the youth strategy will continue".

A DCMS spokesperson said: "The government is considering the contributions made in the youth policy regional workshops held in March and April. An announcement about youth policy will be made in due course."

Osamor and Smith are also concerned that young people's issues have taken a backseat at the Department for International Development since a burst of activity last year, including the staging of a London Youth Summit, the launching of a youth agenda and establishment of a specialised youth team.

blog comments powered by Disqus