Brentwood councillor attacks Essex County Council proposals to slash youth service funding

Cllr David Kendall

Cllr David Kendall - Credit: Archant

A Brentwood councillor has slammed Essex County Council plans to cut the youth service budget by £3 million.

Cllr David Kendall (Liberal Democrat) said it will be a “disgrace” if the proposals are implemented.

The last funding slash was in 2010, when the budget was reduced from £12 million to £5 million.

Cllr Kendall said: “If the Conservatives running the council get their way, the youth service which has served our young people in Brentwood so well for many years will be cut to the bare bones and our community will definitely suffer.

“I accept that in these tough economic times some savings have to be made, but to savagely cut a budget by 83 per cent that is there to support young people across Essex is in my view nothing short of a disgrace.”

Cllr Kendall said the proposals, which have already been subject to a public consultation, would see the scrapping of mobile youth buses and a “heavy reliance” on voluntary groups, who would still need the guidance of professional staff.

He added: “At a time when other county councils like Hertfordshire and Suffolk are investing more in their youth services, the decision by Essex County Council to now turn its back on the needs of our young people is deeply worrying and should be of concern to us all.

Most Read

“They seem to think that these short term cuts will not cause major problems in future years, but I think they’ve got it very wrong and in the long run it will be our young people and our communities that will suffer.”

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: “No decisions have been made about the future of Essex youth services.

“The purpose of the consultation was to listen to young people and explore how we can continue to offer them services they need in the most effective manner.

“I have learnt a great deal from my face to face meetings with young people, including understanding priorities and the strength of feeling towards the youth service and how important it is considered to be.”

The local authority will aim to make a decision in January.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter