This week I questioned the Mayor about the support he could give to youth services in London.
This special session of Mayor’s Question Time was during the Assembly’s budget meeting, and my questions centred on the cuts councils are facing next year and the fact that the Mayor could raise a bit more in his portion of council tax and use it to help youth services.
My recent report, London’s lost youth services showed that more than a third has had to be cut from council youth service budgets, with the loss of nearly 300 youth worker jobs, as they face a squeeze from Government and are limited in what they can do to raise funds.
A proposal in the Green budget amendment for London would involve raising an extra £4.3 million by increasing council tax by a further 0.5% on top of the increase already proposed by the Mayor (taking us up to the overall limit imposed by the Government). The average household would pay just £1.49 more per year – less than 3p per week.
The Mayor has specifically said that he is willing to put up council tax if it goes towards keeping Londoners safe, and he has already put forward an 8p per week increase to make sure police officer numbers can be kept up while the Government cuts our grant, so I pressed him to listen to our idea and take it on board.
During MQTs the Mayor agreed with me when I said:
Keeping Londoners safe is about giving young people somewhere safe to go”
And though he didn’t yet promise to adopt our plan, the Mayor did say:
I was quite clear to keep council tax as low as possible subject to keeping Londoners safe, and you’re right to remind us that actually prevention is far better than cure and if we can spend money early doors to give young people something constructive to do.”
He also said “I’ll look at all representations” so with the final budget due to be published soon (with any changes the Mayor chooses to make after hearing Assembly proposals) youth services need your help.
When asked by the Mayor, young people have specifically asked for investment from him in youth clubs and services.
What might convince the Mayor to take this step is if he hears from Londoners that they would be willing to pay very slightly more to help stop even more youth centres and programmes closing.
Tell him that, yes, you’d be happy to pay 3p a week to help support London’s youth services, and if you’re not a council taxpayer (because you’re a young person!) tell him how important youth services are to you.
Please send a message to the Mayor’s team: via this City Hall contact form
Watch my questions and the answers:
Tell me you support our plans, and sign up to hear what happens next in my work on this issue: