Trafford Council cuts to youth services are ‘choice not necessity’, says Tory minister

A Stretford MP is urging Trafford Council to rethink plans to close all but one youth centre in the borough after a Tory minister branded the cuts ‘choice, not a necessity’.

Kate Green, from the Labour party, blasted the council’s proposals following a parliamentary debate about youth service provision, yesterday.

Mrs Green also raised concerns about the financial struggles young people will face if they are foced to travel to just one central youth centre.

Mrs Green told MM: “Many constituents have contacted me to express their concerns about the loss of our youth centres, and the implications for young people’s safety and wellbeing.

“Even the Tory minister refused to defend Trafford Council, saying the decision to close youth centres was ‘a choice, not a necessity’.

“It’s time for Trafford council to think again about the choices it’s making that are hitting our young people hardest.”

During the debate Tory MP Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, said: “I was sorry to hear that the council is taking the option of abandoning youth centres, but at the end of the day that is a choice, not a necessity.”

Taking to Twitter shortly after the debate, Mrs Green blasted Trafford Council’s again over proposed cuts to school crossing patrols in the area as ‘disgraceful’.

Trafford Council refused to comment, but said: “As we are in the middle of our budget consultation process we are not in a position to provide an answer yet as to what will happen to youth services in Trafford.”

Other councils across Greater Manchester are also considering youth centre closures over the next 12 months.

Oldham Council is also considering closing all but one youth centre in their bid to cut £60million from their budget.

Yesterday’s debate has Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham acknowledging that there are examples of councils improving youth service through good practice.

Mr Cunningham said: “In other parts of the country the service is disappearing.  We have heard an example today.  So what is he going to do about that?”

Mr Willson replied: “At a national level, the Government are going further. We are supporting leading youth organisations to develop the centre for youth impact.

“There will be a central point for information, guidance and bespoke support, to demonstrate the value of youth services to others, particularly those who make funding decisions.”

Image courtesy of Mathia Ripp, with thanks.

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