Cuts to youth services? You couldn’t make it up


You really couldn’t make it up.

A senior Tory Cabinet member has bemoaned a local Council for making cuts to its Youth Service.

Iain Duncan Smith, yes the Work and Pensions Secretary, who according to reports believes people with debilitating and life-limiting illnesses can still work, has told a local newspaper that the “vitally important” provision must be saved. Read the story here.

I think the nail has finally been hammered in to irony’s coffin and it is being lowered into the ground.

Do these Tories really have no understanding or self-awareness that it is the ridiculous budget settlement it has forced on local authorities which is making many of them feel they have no choice but to close youth services, among other frontline services.

Now, of course, I disagree with them for doing that…but it’s more than a little rich for a senior member of this Tory administration – which knows the price of everything but apparently the value of nothing – to attack them for it.

If Mr Duncan Smith is genuinely concerned about youth provision he should immediately talk to the Prime Minister about making the funding of youth services statutory, meaning local authorities have to find the cash for them (and provide a better budgetary settlement for Councils, whilst they’re at it.)

He should take a lead from the Liberal Democrats! That’s long been our policy and reinforced it at last year’s Autumn Conference, in a motion moved by me.

We believe in young people and we know the importance of out-of-school youth services.

If you want to join the fight to protect youth services, please join Lib Dem Friends of Youth Services. We’re on Twitter at @LDFOYS and you can e-mail me for more information via: [email protected]

With the Tories’ lack of empathy and Labour having abandoned its commitment to a statutory youth service before the last election, we’re the only UK-wide party left that champions young people, youth work and youth provision.

I, for one, pledge to always do so!

* Mathew Hulbert is a parish Councillor in Leicestershire.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • That’s incredible……. You couldn’t make it up. And which parliamentary party was daft enough to go into Coalition with that lot ?

  • the Tories are a mess, but really, where is the (any?) effective opposition?

  • What is must be to identify with conservatism? When Tory council’s are speaking out against cuts, Tory ministers are speaking out against cuts, Tory Prime Minister’s mothers are speaking out against cuts and yet (apart from finding wiggle room to delay working tax credit cuts, despite saying they would be protected prior to the vote, for the introduction of UC) still feel the need to slash away willy-nilly.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Feb '16 - 11:34pm


    Well done on this !Never forget this secretary of state is the one who said he could live on unemployment benefit, if he had to ,at the same sort of time he came into a family estate through marriage , that includes a tennis court ! He is a really knowledgeable man on budgets and living within your means !

    There was a period , a few years after he left the Tory leadership in which he was lousy, when I thought he maybe had been misunderstood and that he is a really compassionate fellow.Then I realised at that point , I had misunderstood , and it was me being a compassionate fellow !

    You could not make it up ?!

    There was a time some years

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Feb '16 - 11:41pm

    Just to conclude the sentence as it did not go through properly

    There was a time some years ago when our party genuinely made the best of working with him, Steve Webb , did , cannot say it must have been easy!

  • @Lorenzo My theory is that he is too thick to have understood what Steve was telling him

  • Well said Mathew. Essex Tories have slashed the youth budget from 12 million to 2 million over the last six years. At last night’s Chelmsford budget meeting the Tory leader was doing his usual trick of responding to our proposals by saying he agreed with most of it so why did we need to bother. But of course he doesn’t actually DO what he says.

  • nigel hunter 25th Feb '16 - 9:30pm

    Youth and Community services are the Cinderella industry, good times money to it, bad times always the first to go. I was a youth worker many years ago. Cuts lead to youth boredom which leads to anti social behaviour yes lack of socialising with peers etc. Nowhere for them to explore learn, countless things. Duncan Smith, rich boy never, had these problems. Yes, knows the price of everything but not it’s value. The article talks about anything but youth and the elderly. His ignorance should be pointed out in our local campaigns where it’s relevance will hit home to the voter.

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