We must make sure they weren’t just empty words

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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On Sunday I was delighted that Conference overwhelmingly passed the emergency motion on knife crime and youth work that I was so pleased to propose.

The excellent motion, drafted by our lead member on the LGA Children’s Board, Cllr Lucy Nethsinga, made clear the clear link between the dramatic cut in youth services across the country and the subsequent increase in knife crime.

In passing the motion, Conference reaffirmed the Party’s commitment to invest in both universal and targeted youth work. However, we need this affirmation to lead to more than just empty words, words that sound good in the conference hall but never appear in the manifesto.

Linda Jack was quite right to point out in her passionate speech during the debate that the long list of topics on which we “demand better” on display on the stage did not include Young People. Had Matthew Hulbert, for so long such a strong champion of youth work within the Party, been called to speak he would no doubt have reminded Conference, as he did at Saturday’s fringe event, that our commitment to Young People has been notably absent from recent manifestos.

So, while I’m really proud that our motion passed on Sunday my plea to the Party is, please don’t turn these into just empty words. Let’s ensure Young People and the services they so desperately need to feature loud and clear in our next manifesto, let’s see our parliamentarians and leading councillors speak much louder and much stronger on the issue.

Wouldn’t it be great if one of the contenders for the upcoming leadership election chose it as one of the issues they wanted to focus on!

Because, at the end of the day, we all know that good youth work works.

* Elected to Wiltshire Council in 2009, Jon Hubbard chairs the Children’s Select Committee on the council and is the Party’s lead member on the County Council’s Network. He has also served as the Lib Dem member on the LGA Bright Futures Task Group.

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This entry was posted in Conference, News and Op-eds.


  • David Becket 20th Mar '19 - 9:21am

    Looks as if it has been kicked into the long grass, not a single press release on this major issue, and cannot find anything on our confusing web site. It is not just a new leader we need, it is a new approach, and we need it now.

  • nigel hunter 20th Mar '19 - 11:01am

    Youth work is vital for a number of ways not least knife crime. It MUST be taken seriously.

  • Sue Sutherland 20th Mar '19 - 12:29pm

    You’re absolutely right Jon. Keep fighting. As David Becket says a press release would be a good first step.

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