The Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed deep concerns over cuts by councils to youth services across Wales. Particularly worrying are the proposed cuts in Gwynedd which would lead to the closure of every youth club in the county.
Unfortunately, Gwynedd is the most extreme, but not the only example of cuts to youth services across Wales. Powys’ budget has been cut by 50% over the past four years, whilst spending across Wales has dropped from £23m in 2013 to £19.3 this year.
Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats commented:
Youth services play a vital role in the development of our young people, introducing them to new friends and experiences and ensuring young people in deprived areas have somewhere to go. These unacceptable cuts will put these services out of the reach of too many people.
Councils must stop passing the blame and start properly funding youth services. We all know councils are under immense financial pressures, but these services are key to early intervention and relieve pressure on social, health and children’s services. Cutting youth services is a counterproductive step that will worsen children’s lives and cost more in the long run.
Cllr James Gibson-Watt, Leader of the Powys County Council Welsh Liberal Democrat Group, said:
The Welsh Liberal Democrats recognise the value of youth services. That is why in Powys we proposed stopping the cuts to these services. Unfortunately, our proposal was rejected. It’s clear only the Welsh Liberal Democrats can be trusted to stand up for youth services.