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25 July 2019

On 24th July 2019, there was a debate in the House of Commons on the role and current sufficiency of youth services in the UK. You can find out more about it below.


Our statement

Our chief executive, Rosemary Watt-Wyness, said:

“I welcome the Government’s commitment to expand the training routes and qualifications open to youth work professionals. Young people have ultimately borne the brunt of the sustained devaluing of youth work and professionals who deliver challenging but vital work against the backdrop of public sector cuts. 

However the 400 new national bursaries will not even replace the 800 youth work positions that have disappeared in London alone over the last decade. The big questions facing the youth sector have not been answered. I implore the new Prime Minister and his Government to make this and young people their priority.”


The debate

The vote was called by the youth minister, Mims Davies MP. You can watch the debate here or below (starts at 16:32:52) or read the transcript here.


Summary

During her speech, the minister announced several new pieces of funding. These included £500,000 in bursaries for up to 400 youth work students and ongoing funding of £280,000 to six Centre for Social Action initiatives.

The Minister renewed her commitment to a Youth Charter, delivering a long-term guarantee to young people of the services they can expect. She also emphasised the importance of  youth voice, which will be increased through three initiatives announced in last year’s Civil Society Strategy.

MPs emphasised the importance of youth work in supporting young people and the challenges that the sector faced from funding cuts and a lack of long-term government planning. Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP referred to the almost £1 billion reduction in spending on the sector in real terms, with Cat Smith MP calling youth work “the first public service to have been dismantled.”

Ellie Reeves MP mentioned London Youth member Youth First, saying:

Youth First provides fantastic youth services across Lewisham, and it was instrumental in bringing the community together when 15-year-old Jay Hughes was murdered last November. However, it is chronically underfunded owing to cuts to our local authority, so it cannot provide the detached youth workers that the Minister just mentioned. Does she agree that we must invest in youth services, so that they can play that vital role in tackling youth violence and supporting our communities?

The following MPs spoke during the debate:

  • Mims Davies MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Eastleigh, Conservative)
  • Henry Smith MP (Crawley, Conservative)
  • Jim Cunningham MP (Coventry South, Labour)
  • Ellie Reeves MP (Lewisham West and Penge, Labour)
  • Ruth George MP (High Peak, Labour)
  • Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (Brighton, Kemptown, Labour and Co-operative)
  • Lyn Brown MP (West Ham, Labour)
  • Gill Furniss MP (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, Labour)
  • Chris Bryant MP (Rhondda, Labour)
  • Cat Smith MP (Lancaster and Fleetwood, Labour)
  • Paul Blomfield MP (Sheffield Central, Labour)
  • Alex Sobel MP (Leeds North West, Labour and Co-operative)
  • Jenny Chapman MP (Darlington, Labour)
  • Jeremy Lefroy MP (Stafford, Conservative)
  • Ben Bradley MP (Mansfield, Conservative)
  • Tim Loughton MP (East Worthing and Shoreham, Conservative)
  • Gordon Marsden MP (Blackpool South, Labour)

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Samuel Howell, Policy Officer