Assembly Member, Sian Berry, outside of the Grove Park Youth Centre

News from Siân Berry: Call for youth funding boost as budget black hole reaches £100 million

25 January 2018

Sian Berry is asking the Mayor to put £20 million into youth work and a public health approach to youth violence in an amendment to the Mayor’s budget.

This comes as new data from councils shows the black hole in youth services funding will grow again in the next financial year.
The average 2018/19 council budget for youth services is down £88,000 from 2017/18. The total cut this year from the 13 councils who have sent figures to Sian so far is £1,000,000. [1]

The total amount lost from councils’ youth services that would have been spent in the last seven years, if budgets had stayed at 2011/12 levels, is now a colossal £100 million. [2]
As the Mayor presents his draft budget tomorrow Sian will be asking him to support young people by allocating £20m to help plug the gap left by austerity measures. 

Sian recommends using this year’s expected £20m council tax surplus to boost the London Crime Prevention Fund by £5m in each of the next three years, as well as making £5m available specifically for a public health approach to knife violence. This would double the amount going to youth projects through the London Crime Prevention Fund. [3]

Sian Berry says:

If we aren’t willing to invest in our young people, what are we willing to spend money on?

The Mayor has a duty to help all Londoners and this is by far the best thing he can do with this year’s council tax surplus.

He must turn the tide on the relentless cuts young people have seen, which can only have added to their feelings of being marginalised and excluded from society.

If every penny of the £20m surplus was put into real prevention work, not a penny of it would be wasted.


Sian has again asked all London councils how much they are spending on youth services in 2018/19, 13 have provided answers so far.

Before his final budget the Mayor invited suggestions from the GLA on what to do with the council tax surplus. 

Sian’s will also ask the Mayor to create a £150,000 fund for residents on estates to drawn on when making their own plans for their homes. The money could be raised by increasing planning fees by 20 per cent.

To support other people developing their own plans and ideas Sian is also proposing that the Mayor relaunches SpaceHive – a matchfunding programme that community groups can bid for – with £300,000. The money for the fund could be diverted from the planned increase to London & Partner’s budget.

Sian asks Mayor how policing budget boost will help young people

Notes to editors

[1] Sian Berry’s next report into youth service funding in London will be published in March 2018.

[2] In her 2017 report ‘Youth Services in London – what next?’ Sian Berry revealed more than 450 youth workers and 30 youth clubs have been lost from the sector between 2011/12 and 2016/17. 

The Mayor referenced Sian’s influential report when he called on the Government to save London’s youth services and recognised that youth violence has to be treated as a public health issue.

‘Youth Services in London – what next?’, Sian Berry, Mar 2017

[3] Sian Berry question to the Mayor

MOPAC spending on youth crime prevention. MQ 2018/0134

How much funding has MOPAC given to community projects and organisations that work on youth crime prevention? Please provide the total amount spent on each initiative in the years 2016-17 and 2017-18, and any forecast spending for 2018-19.

[4] Green Group budget amendment

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