by Sian Berry, Co-Leader of The Green Party, London Assembly Member and Candidate for Mayor
London’s youth services are in crisis. Councils have been under pressure to cut vital youth services through a decade of austerity but, amid the devastating effects of this pandemic, our young people need support from youth workers more than ever.
I have written to the Chancellor ahead of the Government’s upcoming spending review, to demand he reinvests fully in youth services as an essential part of building back better from this crisis.
I asked Rishi Sunak, not just to fund councils to bring youth services back to levels last seen before 2010, but provide for a service that ensures every young person has access to local, accessible and appropriate activities and youth worker support.
In my work as a London Assembly Member, I have been documenting and exposing dramatic cuts to youth services. In London since 2011, at least £35 million in annual funding has been removed from council youth service budgets, over 100 youth centres have closed, and more than 700 full-time equivalent youth worker jobs have been lost.
Now is a crucial moment for the Government to invest in the young people of this city. We need to support those most disadvantaged by the current crisis, providing more chances and better opportunities for the next generation of young people to thrive.