“Early years and youth services spending continues to fall”

By Neil Puffett

| 26 September 2017

The amount of money spent by local authorities on early years services has been cut by £112m in the space of a single year, with the amount spent on youth services also continuing to fall, government statistics show.

Figures published by the Department for Education outlining the predicted spending of individual councils across England for 2017/18 reveals that a total of £661.3m will be spent on early years services this financial year, compared with £773.5m in 2016/17, a drop of £112.2m or 14.5 per cent.

The money includes funding for individual Sure Start centres, funding for services delivered through children's centres, as well as "other" early years funding.

Spending on youth services is also continuing to fall. In 2017/18, councils will spend £415.8m on youth services, compared with £489.5m in 2016/17, a fall of 15 per cent.

In 2014/15, councils spent £621.9m on youth services, meaning expenditure has now dropped by more than £200m in the space of three years.

While spending on early years support and youth services is declining, spending on child protection and looking after children in care is on the rise.

The statistics show that in 2017/18, local authorities are planning to spend £3,791m on looked-after children - a rise of £176.1m, or 4.9 per cent.

Spending on child protection is up to £2,140m, up £79.1m, or 3.8 per cent, on the 2016/17 figure of £2,060.

The majority of local authorities' planned spend is on the schools budget: £42.8bn in 2017/18, accounting for 80 per cent of planned expenditure overall.

Total planned spend by local authorities on schools, education and children and young people's services for 2017/18 comes to £53.7bn, a nominal increase of £1bn, or two per cent, from the 2016/17 planned spend.