The House of Commons library has published a briefing paper for a debate on youth services in England, Wales and Scotland, being held in parliament today.

The pack is 23 pages long, and includes information on the statutory duties and responsibilities held by local authorities in relation to the provision of youth services; funding for these services; and the impact of reduced council budgets on youth services around the country.

Very interesting questions and comments around youth services asked in the House of Commons by MPs in July are a fascinating addition to this pack, which also confirmed that the Government would review its guidance on the statutory duty for local authorities to provide youth services.

The review was launched on 10th July. 

The questions also confirm that the Prime Minister’s knife crime task force has only met twice, and that the Home Office would be publishing draft guidance on the operation of Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPOs) for public consultation in the near future.

Here are some extracts:

Asked by: Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op)

The Home Secretary really should be ashamed of himself. If he comes to a place such as Huddersfield and other towns in West Yorkshire, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) has just mentioned, he will find that it is about not only diverting young people from violence, gangs and crime, but tackling extremist views early on. If the Government dismantle local government youth services, they cannot just pass the responsibility across to community associations and think that is okay.

Answered by: Sajid Javid | Conservative Party | Department: Home Department

The hon. Gentleman should know that we have done a great deal since 2000 to support community projects, including youth community projects. I mentioned earlier the £63 million that we put into the “Building a Stronger Britain Together” programme. That is through the Home Office alone, but much more is going on through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Education and local government. He mentions Huddersfield. Just last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a young man called Jamal, who was the victim of racism, a form of extremism, in the hon. Gentleman’s own constituency. I had the opportunity to welcome him to our great country and to tell him that what happened to him in Huddersfield in no way represents the people of our great nation.

Asked by: Lord Roberts of Llandudno | Party: Liberal Democrats

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support youth services working to deter young people from crime, and violent crime in particular.

Answering member: Lord Ashton of Hyde | Party: Conservative Party | Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Youth services and their strategic partners provide crucial preventative and targeted interventions and are an important partner in the strategy to tackle serious violence. My Department allocated over £863m between 2014/15 and 2018/19 to youth programmes providing positive activities for young people.

The Home Office’s £200m Youth Endowment Fund will deliver a ten-year programme of grants enabling interventions targeted at those who are most at risk of involvement in crime and violence in England and Wales. This follows an investment of £22m by the Home Office between 2018/19 and 2019/20 through the Early Intervention Youth Fund to support community services which deter young people from violent crime.

Her Majesty’s Government will continue to work together closely to implement the Home Office’s Serious Violence Strategy.

You can watch the debate here.