Figures uncovered by the Labour Party show that the Tories and Lib Dems have cut the Hertfordshire youth offending team’s (YOT) funding by £679,980 since 2010 – meaning cuts of 49 per cent.
Nationally, the Tories have slashed central government funding for youth offending teams by over half from £145m in 2010/11 to £71m in 2017/18.
Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon forced the government to release the damning statistics after he demanded that the Justice Department reveal the value of central government grants given to Youth Offending Teams for each local authority area since the Coalition formed.
Richard Burgon MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, commenting on the figures, said:
“Our communities benefit so much from their youth offending teams. They do so much good work in stopping young people committing crime or becoming victims of crime.
“It was completely unacceptable for the Tories and, in coalition, the Lib Dems to cut this funding. But it is appalling that, with youth violence rising, the government is still failing to prioritise funding for this essential service – with below-inflation real terms cuts year after year.
“You can’t keep the public safe on the cheap. Boris Johnson must guarantee the resources needed to protect our communities and help prevent young people from getting involved in crime in the first place.”
Herts YOP was recently found to be performing excellently despite slow and grinding cuts. We can only imagine how much better its contribution to crime prevention and the prevention of re-offending would be if full funding was restored. Crime prevention at the root is underfunded and ignored in favour of cheap headlines that serve a failing government that nobody elected and that prefers to divert public attention from real issues and constructive policies.