Questions raised about legality of Youth Service cuts as hundreds attend protest march

The Council’s Labour administration faced hard hitting questions about their budget proposals as young people gathered last weekend to protest against planned cuts to youth services.

The protest followed a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council last week, where young people presented a petition of more than 2,000 signatures opposing the 80% cuts to youth services planned by the administration. Young people told the Council cuts were “short-sighted both economically and socially,” as “extra support from schools and services like Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have been offered, but these are not solutions – CAMHS is already under huge pressures and so are teachers.” [1]

Green Councillors Amanda Knight, Alex Phillips and Phélim Mac Cafferty all spoke in support of the petition, demanding that the Council reviewed whether the plans to slash youth centres, preventative youth work and voluntary and community services directly contravene statutory guidance on what must be provided by local Government. The Green Group also joined the Youth Service protest march.

Councillor Phillips, Green spokesperson for Children, Young People and Skills, commented:

“These planned cuts could actually put us in a position where we are not meeting statutory guidance or providing a robust budget. Government statutory guidance on youth services and activities clearly says local Councils have a duty to provide positive preventative and early help for young people and
includes voluntary and community sector provision in this. [2] If the Labour Council wants to push ahead with massive cuts to voluntary sector youth work, there will be additional costs in the future and a failure to uphold proper services. That isn’t right.”

The Green Group also directly challenged the Council over the Youth Service consultation deadline, which comes after the meeting of Policy and Resources Committee that reviews the budget. The Green Group have called on the Council to review consultation results earlier, as well as consider the equality impacts of youth cuts through the Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee.

Councillor Amanda Knight, member of the Corporate Parenting Board, said:

“It’s fantastic that the petition gathered so many signatures so quickly and we saw an amazing turnout at the youth services march this weekend. The consultation taking place is a token gesture and will not be submitted in time to have a real impact on the budget. The city’s young people have been vocal and clear about this.

Our young people are a credit to this city, are politically active and deserve a chance to be heard. In our City’s Corporate Plan we talk about the need for equality and inclusion. Youth services offer this: they are available out of school hours, facilitate social cohesion, develop relationships between young people and older people, and combat discrimination – all the responsibility of the Council at statutory level.”


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