29 October 2021
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set out the Government’s Budget and three year Spending Review yesterday. We were expecting to see more detail around core youth sector policies and provisioning that have been held up for some time. Several of these pre-dated the onset of Covid-19. Right at the top of our priority list was to see the urgent allocation of the £500 million Youth Investment fund.
What we heard did not give us any cause for optimism. Yes the speech signposted £368 million of “new” funds to build up to 300 new youth clubs. But it made no reference to any other support for the sector, which would justify the reference to levelling-up communities, let alone giving pride to those who live in them. And somewhat worryingly we are now assuming, alongside others in the sector, that the Treasury has not actually given the sector new financing but re-stated funds from the £500 million announced in 2019.
London Youth has issued an interim statement whilst awaiting clarification of the above, and other policy announcements of greatest relevance to our members:
If the Chancellor is committing new funds for up to 300 new youth clubs this is positive, but it will do nothing to restore pride in the hundreds of youth clubs in disrepair that many young people call home.
So many of London Youth’s grassroots community-based members are safe spaces and trusted lifelines for young people in need. They are currently starved of investment and in dire need of unrestricted funds to keep their doors open.
With regard to the £500 million Youth Investment Fund already announced in 2019, one thing is clear: we cannot talk about levelling-up communities in 2021 if the youth organisations at the centre of them continue to be denied their share of existing funding to fix their leaking roof
We await further detail in the Treasury’s Budget and Spending Review.
We would like to hear your views too. One of our members, Irfan from Frenford tweeted this in response to yesterday’s announcement.
“…Funding does not add up & definitely not levelling up. Based on the numbers of young people growing up in poor areas alone, £560m over 3 years – you actually don’t get it, you actually have no pride”
Please do contact us with your views at email@example.com. We will be sure to include your feedback into our responses back into Government.