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Tories set to break manifesto vow on youth fund

THE TORIES have failed miserably to deliver on manifesto pledges to increase funding for young adults’ services, Labour charged today.

Spending on teenagers and young adults has been cut by a whopping 60 per cent on average under successive Tory governments, it was revealed last night.

Analysis by the House of Commons library shows the vast scale of cuts to services for people aged 16 to 24 in England, where average spending has fallen from £142 per young person in 2011-12 to just £56 in 2018-19.

The West Midlands, the north-east, north-west and Yorkshire and the Humber have seen the biggest falls in spending per young person. 

While the least deprived areas saw spending fall by just over half, it fell by two-thirds in the most deprived areas, above the average for the country as a whole.

Labour is calling on Boris Johnson’s government to stick to its manifesto pledge, which was to provide £500 million by April this year to prevent more youth centres closing. 

This week, youth organisations and charities nationwide made an emergency plea for the Youth Investment Fund (YIF) to be released to them, since many are on the brink of collapse.

The fund was announced in September last year, and the commitment was restated in the Conservative manifesto for the December general election.

The Tories promised to spend £500m over five years from April 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was in its first wave.

The YIF is designed to help build 60 new youth centres across the country, refurbish around 360 existing youth facilities and provide more than 100 mobile facilities for harder-to-reach areas.

It was also expected to provide and co-ordinate high-quality services for young people and investment in youth workers.

Since the fund was first announced, no money has been released, while youth services have suffered a 73 per cent cut in funding since 2010.

Shadow minister for young people Cat Smith said: “The government pledged this funding over a year ago, yet not a penny has been spent.

“Youth services desperately need the Youth Investment Fund, given how much has been stripped away from them over the last decade by the Conservatives.

“While the Tories keep breaking their promises to young people, a generation are being let down.”

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