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MINISTERS were condemned today for putting an extra £1.1 million into armed forces cadet units in English schools after a decade of heavy cuts to other youth services.
The government has already ploughed more than £50 million into creating new school-cadet forces since 2016, the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) said.
However, youth services across Britain were cut by over £400 million between 2010 and 2019, according to research by Unison.
The new £1.1 million for extra staffing in existing cadet units is the latest example of everyday militarism in Britain, the PPU warned.
Recent militaristic government policies include a 44 per cent increase in the upper limit on the number of Britain’s nuclear warheads and the biggest percentage increase in military spending since the Korean War.
Saffron Gallup of PPU said: “It is incredibly disappointing to see this distorted allocation of funding when there are ongoing and overwhelming calls from parents and carers, unions, local groups as well as young people themselves to invest in wellbeing and mental health services.
“Cadet forces have no place in schools and are certainly not the only agency capable of enabling ‘the development of personal responsibility, leadership and self-discipline’.”
PPU youth network’s Katie McLean said: “Students can learn resilience, leadership and working as part of a team from sports teams, dance classes, theatre groups or critical thinking classes and activities.
“It is the government who benefits from a youth more receptive to military recruitment. Students would benefit from more support for the youth centres and activities they love, which have been consistently de-funded over the past 10 years.”
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