Stop the Youth Service cuts!

11/15/2015 PRESS RELEASE from Southwark Unison, Unite and GMB

Southwark Council – 73% Cuts to Youth service – Bonfire of the youth service!

Youth and play workers in Southwark are in a state of shock as Councillors propose to cut 73% of the youth

service budget and effectively end council run youth services as we know them.

The council plans to cut £2.5 million from the youth service budget leaving less than £1million to work with some of the most disadvantaged young people in London.

For years the council has slowly stripped away much of the service and will now leave a ‘much streamlined

youth and play service’. The restructuring report goes on to state: ‘The reduction in service will impact on front line delivery with some sites and projects being rationalised. ..It is envisaged that there will be a large number of redundancies.’

This is a euphemism for deleting ALL full time jobs and replacing them with a few part time posts. 122 full and part time posts will be reduced to just 42 part time posts. The council has frontloaded £2million of the cuts to 2016/17 with a further half a million pounds cut in 2017/18. Cuts in 2017/18 may have a severe impact on youth services in the voluntary sector. There are currently 13 youth projects in the voluntary sector which could suffer.

The council also plans to shut a number of its 8 youth centres or as it is stated in the report, ‘rationalisation of some buildings and sites which have yet to be determined’.

The council plans to make these cuts by April 2016 and then transfer the rest of the ‘service’ to its Environment and Leisure department. This will de-professionalise and de-skill professional youth workers. The council’s promise to protect frontline services has gone up in smoke like last week’s bonfires!

It is clear the ‘Labour’ Council, despite the election of anti-austerity leader Jeremy Corbyn, continues to wield the axe to the public sector.

While the councillors shed crocodile tears and blame Tory government cutbacks for this attack on the local community the council has reorganised its high paid senior managers to create even more managers at high grades!

As Jeremy Corbyn has said ‘austerity is a political choice’. Southwark must not abandon young people while sitting on millions of pounds of reserves which can be used to support the local community along with the fight to get more money from central government.

Branch Secretary Sue Plain Membership Manager Jenny McIntosh

Assistant Secretary April Ashley Membership Officer Francis Harriot

Assistant Secretary David Higgs Recruitment and Organising Taz Taper

Branch Chair Martina Rooney Treasurer Vincent Sabaroche

If the proposals go through then vulnerable young people will be left with no effective support and inadequate safeguarding – prey to dangerous elements on the streets. Southwark trade unions will be campaigning against these devastating cuts. We will be lobbying the Council

Assembly and other community related forums with young people and families to stop this destruction of the service.

For more information contact Pat Shelley – Head of Youth and Play Service –

(Patrick.Shelley@southwark.gov.uk)

April Ashley

Assistant Branch Secretary

UNISON Office

17-19 Bournemouth Road Peckham, London SE15 4JU

Tel: 020 7525 3600

Fax: 020 7525 6015

e-mail: contact@southwarkunison.co.uk

e-mail: sue.plain@ southwark.gov.uk

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