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Youth Work spending gulf grows

Posted on Friday, May 30, 2008

The gulf in spending on youth services is widening, according to figures gathered by The National Youth Agency (NYA). England’s Local Authority Youth Services: the NYA Audit 2006-2007 National Report revealed a gap of £43 per young person between the highest and lowest spending councils. Last year the gap was only £35.

The lowest average spend for 13- to 19-year-olds was in the east of England at just £55, an 8.3 per cent drop on the previous year. The north east of England spent the most per head, at £98 per young person, representing an increase of £13 (15.2 per cent) since last year.

However, none of the nine regions managed to reach £100 per head, which is The NYA’s target for youth service spending.

Doug Nicholls, national secretary of the Community and Youth Workers’ Union, said he was not surprised at the wide regional variations and called for youth work cash to be ringfenced.

"The government and others continue to fly in the face of evidence which says that youth work works and continue not to fund it properly," he said.
He added young people should not be subjected to a "postcode lottery" for youth services. "Young people have the same rights in Crewe as in Colchester and should have the same level of funding,"
he said.

The audit is based on data from 140 local authority youth services across England. However, the figures do not include money from other sources such as the Learning and Skills Council. Viv McKee, The NYA’s director for policy and research, said the results could change if cash from other areas was added.

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