12-month reprieve from youth activity cuts - but it will not last

12-month reprieve from youth activity cuts - but it will not last

12-month reprieve from youth activity cuts - but it will not last

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards Exclusive by , Political Reporter

PLANS to slash council funding for youth activities in Worcestershire by 50 per cent next year have been scrapped, it has emerged.

But your Worcester News can reveal how the stance is a temporary one - with the county council expected to scrap its ENTIRE budget for young people by 2016.

As your Worcester News first revealed last week, spending on youth activities has already been slashed from £3 million to £1 million since 2011.

The cash-strapped authority was due to cut another £500,000 from that fund next year, but has decided to delay that move by 12 months.

It means contracts with 23 different providers of youth activities will now be extended until March 2016.

But the Conservative cabinet has revealed the existing proposal to reduce the spend to zero from then on has not changed.

The leadership will instead expect other bodies like schools, the police and district councils to pick up the slack by funding facilities for youths.

The stance has been described as "very worrying" by the opposition Liberal Democrat group.

Councillor Liz Tucker, Lib Dem group leader, speaking during a cabinet meeting said: "The report makes it clear this additional money (the £500,000) will not cause any disruption in the council's longer term financial planning because the spend will become 'nil' in 2016/17.

"My very big concern is the future of youth opportunities - it's not just about playing cricket, it's about having access to youth professionals.

"I'm deeply worried about this, we must have these people in our communities and they can't live on fresh air."

The council's leadership says that by finding the extra £500,000 for next year, it will give youth activity providers 20 months to prepare for what is expected to happen in 2016/17.

Councillor Liz Eyre, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "We are on the same page with this, you are right they cannot live on fresh air, that's why there is a 20-month window for talks.

"I'm hoping that by working in partnership we can target monies towards young people together, not from taxpayers money from this county council."

The current £1 million spending funds activities for nearly 10,000 youths across Worcestershire.

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