The Liberal Democrats have announced they would more than double spending on youth services in Oxfordshire to £7,769,119, to help tackle levels of crime and antisocial behaviour among young people. This would form part of a total ring-fenced fund of £500 million for Local Authorities across England to spend on youth services, providing young people with positive and safe alternatives to gangs.
Under the Conservatives, council spending on youth services has been cut by £300 million - or 40 per cent - since 2015. Knife crime has risen by 80% over the same period, with a record high of 47,500 offences recorded in the year to June 2019. Research has also found the areas with the biggest cuts to youth services have seen some of the biggest increases in knife crime.
The Liberal Democrats would also take a public health approach to tackling youth violence, modelled on the successful approach taken by Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit. This would involve identifying risk factors and treating them early on, with youth workers, police, teachers, health professionals and social services all working closely together to prevent young people falling into gangs and violence.
Commenting Layla Moran said:
“Across the country, there are thousands of youth centres offering invaluable services and support to young people in their localities. Within my own constituency, Wolvercote Young People's Club has been providing services for the community in North Oxford for nearly 80 years.
“Local Liberal Democrat councillors alongside myself have been working with youth centres across the local area, but due to Government and Oxfordshire County Council funding cuts and increases in rent, many youth centres' trustees, volunteers, parents and communities are looking to fundraise tens of thousands of pounds to keep their services running.
“Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for young people by doubling spending on youth services to £7,769,119 a year in Oxfordshire.
“With a Liberal Democrat government, young people will have the support and opportunities they deserve, our local communities will be stronger and people here will feel safer.”