Crisis hit youth services in the UK need cash boost fr...

Crisis hit youth services in the UK need cash boost from chancellor, says Unite

17 November 2016

Chancellor Philip Hammond needs to use next week’s autumn statement to financially reboot the UK’s crisis hit youth services which have seen 3,000 jobs axed in the last decade.

The call will come from the Unite/Community, Youth and Playworkers’ (CYPW) conference in Eastbourne tomorrow (Friday 18 November), as concerns mount that the cuts to youth services in the UK are leading to increased problems affecting young people; such as homelessness, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Unite CYPW section chair Fran Sullivan said: “Youth work is the glue that binds communities together; our members liaise with the police, social workers and a range of health professionals from community nurses to clinical psychology on a daily basis to assist young people through often traumatic times.” 

Unite said that recent figures show that local authorities in Great Britain have made £123 million worth of cuts to youth services over the last two financial years.

This has resulted in the closure of 244 youth centres in Great Britain on top of the 359 that were closed in the previous two years.

Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “The axing of more than 3,000 youth work jobs needs to be reversed to enable a renaissance for children and young people’s services.  We need one qualified full time youth worker for every 400 young people aged 13-19 in each local authority.

“A crisis is being stoked up among our young people whether it is employment or mental health services. These issues need to be addressed in the review announced recently by the minister for civil society, Rob Wilson.

“It is time for the government to step up to the plate and replace warm words with action for all young people, struggling with employment, housing and abuse issues.

“Next week’s autumn statement gives chancellor Philip Hammond an excellent opportunity to give a financial boost for this much-needed and valued service.”

Unite/CYPW’s vision for youth services includes: 

  • a statutory youth service, underpinned by law 
  • ringfenced funding and investment for youth services 
  • sufficient resourcing and workforce planning 
  • a register and revocable ‘licence to practice’ for qualified youth workers and the ‘protection of title’
  • continuous professional development (CPD) for youth workers
  • return of the national youth audit to guarantee minimum standards are adhered to. 


Notes to editors:

There will be a photo opportunity tomorrow (Friday 18 November) at the View Hotel, Eastbourne, BN21 4DN at 15:00.

For more information, please contact Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe on 07771 656 692 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.