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Youth Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:35 pm on 6th December 2010.

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Photo of Julie Hilling Julie Hilling Labour, Bolton West 2:35 pm, 6th December 2010

What funding her Department plans to allocate to the provision of youth services provided by her Department in the spending review period.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I know that the hon. Lady, in the various posts that she has held over the years, has a wealth of experience in dealing with this area of youth services. Youth services are crucial in ensuring that our young people have the best possible chance in life and fulfil their potential. As I am sure she will be aware, the Home Office itself does not provide youth services directly, but we do contribute towards local youth crime prevention work, including youth offending teams, and we will set out our plans for future funding in due course.

Photo of Julie Hilling Julie Hilling Labour, Bolton West

The Secretary of State will be aware of the numerous studies that show that, where there is a well-funded youth service, there is a decrease in criminality. Now that youth services are being destroyed due to cuts to local government, education, health and Home Office budgets, leaving young people with nowhere to go and nothing to do, has she done a cost analysis of the effects of closures of youth centres on her departmental budget and on levels of antisocial behaviour?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I simply do not recognise the picture that the hon. Lady has set out in relation to youth services across the country. I would also remind her of the extremely effective point that my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice made just now in response to the shadow Home Secretary-namely, that the Government have had to take the recent decisions on funding because of the mess that the last Labour Government left the finances in. We will be looking very closely at the support that we can provide in relation to specific issues about youth crime, to ensure that we are able to help young people not to go down the route of crime and to ensure that they are able to fulfil their full potential and develop the life that they deserve.

Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

In my constituency, there are many voluntary organisations providing key services such as children's centres and youth services. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is essential to maintain the funding for those voluntary organisations that are doing such a key work?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I pay tribute to the voluntary organisations that are doing key work in my hon. Friend's constituency, and indeed in other constituencies up and down the country. This is a very good example of the big society in action. As he will be aware, the Government are putting support into voluntary organisations; £100 million is being made available to help voluntary organisations in the difficult times ahead.