Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Fighting back against cuts to youth services

Young people were out in force at the Sparkbrook ward committee last night. They were there because the City Council is planning to destroy services to young people. Cuts of up to 70% are planned. Yes, you read it right, around 70% of youth services are set to go.

The consequences will be horrendous for Sparkbrook, which has one of the youngest populations in the city. It is not only that these services provide an outlet for young people to mix with their peers and enjoy themselves; it is not just that they keep them out of trouble; they also play an important role in helping our youth realise their potential and raise their aspirations.

With youth unemployment hitting record levels, and the withdrawal of EMA penalising the poorest for continuing with their education, young people need all the help they can get. Instead they face callous indifference from our Tory and Lib Dem council leaders.

While council leaders want to slash budgets in the most deprived areas, they are splashing the cash in the richest areas. At a time when Sparkbrook faces the loss of up to 70% of its £250,000 youth services budget, it is simply obscene for the city council to spend £700,000 for scaffolding on Harborne clock tower. The fact that this is in the ward of Tory council leader Mike Whitby was not lost on the meeting.

The good news is that our young people are determined to fight tooth and nail to stop their youth services being axed. And I will be with them 100% in that fight.