Reversing cuts to youth services key to reducing ASB, says Portsmouth MP

New youth services policy would help cut ASB and divert young people from crime according to Stephen Morgan

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has said Labour’s new Youth Service policy would help ease the burden on overstretched and underpaid police officers by preventing young people from falling into crime and making them less vulnerable to exploitation by gangs. The MP believes drastic cuts to youth services under the Tories has resulted in the loss of a vital diversionary tool.

Today, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs announced Labour’s plans for a Statutory Youth Service alongside a new consultation.

Labour has announced it would mandate a national body with dedicated ring-fenced funding to oversee youth service provision across England. This national body would work with local youth partnerships in every local area to support service delivery across the country.

Stephen is encouraging anyone with interest in shaping youth services to take part in a new consultation which will be led by Cat Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs.

The consultation is the first step in delivering youth services that support young people and prevent them from being exploited by gangs and falling into a life of crime.

New analysis by the House of Commons Library commissioned by Labour indicates that local authority spending on universal youth services has fallen by 52% in real terms since 2012. Furthermore, research shows that under the Conservatives, over 600 youth centres have closed.

With crime up by 10% in Portsmouth, Stephen is committed to reversing cuts to youth services and providing good quality youth services in every community as part of a public health approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and violent crime and to help young people reach their potential.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Where you are born in life shouldn’t determine where you end up. As someone who has worked in play and youth services I know how important these services are to improving chances for all young people.Sadly, youth services in Portsmouth have been dealt a hard blow by this Government.

These incredibly short-sighted Tory cuts have been borne out on Portsmouth streets, with anti-social behaviour on the up and our young people left disillusioned.

We’ve seen crime rise by 10% in Portsmouth, and, with frontline policing continuing to be cut by the Government, we need to do all we can to ease the burden on our local forces and get tough on the causes of crime.

That’s why Labour is launching this consultation on a statutory youth service. We’re fortunate to have many talented people in our city working to improve the opportunities available to young people, I’d encourage all of them to get involved.”

Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, said:

“The Government has left youth services across the country devastated after eight years of unnecessary and unjustified austerity.

With youth services targeted for budget cuts, the Tories have created the conditions in which crime can thrive, leaving young people vulnerable to violence and denied the opportunity to build a positive future.

Enough is enough. Today, we are launching our consultation on a statutory youth service which outlines a bold vision of what a Labour government will achieve.

I urge anyone who wants to improve the opportunities available to young people to get involved. Together, we will rebuild youth services to create a system that truly works for the many, not the few.”