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Government funding for youth offending services in Cambridgeshire has halved

By Fenland Citizen Reporter

Funding for youth justice and crime prevention in Cambridgeshire has been cut in half since the Conservatives came to power, figures reveal.

Labour has called on the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to guarantee resources for youth services, warning that "you can't keep the public safe on the cheap".

Government funding for the Cambridgeshire youth offending team has been cut by 49 per cent over the last eight years, Ministry of Justice data shows.

Funding for youth justice in Cambridgeshire slashed in 'appalling' budget cuts, figures reveal.
Funding for youth justice in Cambridgeshire slashed in 'appalling' budget cuts, figures reveal.

The service, which provides support to young people in trouble with the police, has seen its grant fall from £1.1 million in 2010-11 to just £549,296 last year.

As well as helping young people in custody or under arrest, youth offending teams also work with local councils to supervise community sentences and run crime prevention programmes.

Nationally, funding for these services in England and Wales has halved since the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition came to power in 2010, dropping from £145 million to just £71 million.

The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question by Labour's shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, who called the cuts "unacceptable".

He said: "Our communities benefit so much from their youth offending teams.

"They do so much good work in stopping young people committing or becoming victims of crime.

"It is appalling that, with youth violence rising, the Government is still failing to prioritise funding for this essential service - with below-inflation real terms cuts year after year."

Funding for youth offending teams in England and Wales increased slightly between 2016-17 and 2017-18, but only by 0.5per cent - less than the rate of inflation.

The Cambridgeshire team saw their budget increase by just £2,187 over the year.

A Ministry ofJustice spokesman said: "This year, we are increasing funding for frontline services and tackling serious youth violence by targeting priority areas such as knife and gang crime.

"This investment helps provide the best services for children in, or at risk of entering, the criminal justice system."

However, experts argued that early intervention is most effective at reducing crime, and are calling for more funding for youth services across the board.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "In many areas there is hardly anything for teenagers to do during the summer holidays.

"If we want to give children new experiences, and prevent them becoming involved in crime, we must invest in sport and other activities.

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