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Youth Services (Funding)

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

9. If he will bring forward proposals for the funding of youth facilities to ensure their long-term stability; and if he will make a statement. (250616)

Through myplace, the Government are investing over £200 million of capital funding to deliver new and upgraded world-class facilities for young people. Each project will be endorsed by the local authority chief executive, so that so we can be sure of its long-term revenue sustainability. The Government already provide all local authorities with significant additional revenue funding to help them fulfil the statutory duties to which I have just referred and provide all young people with access to positive activities and youth facilities.

With regard to the funding of youth facilities, does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a difficulty? While the amount available for new projects from both charitable and Government sources is still fairly large, the amount available for core funding is shrinking. The danger is that many very worthwhile projects, such as the Pennywell youth project in my constituency, will find themselves out of business in due course unless some long-term funding arrangements can be put in place.

My hon. Friend is not actually correct to say that the core revenue funding is shrinking. In fact, it has increased: there will be £620 million in resource funding for youth services over this comprehensive spending review period. That is an increase on the same period in 2008 of £125 million, and it shows that substantial new revenue money is going to local authorities. One problem is that, for most of the funding streams, it is largely up to local authorities how they spend the money. I know that my hon. Friend has written to me about a particular project in the north-east and I should be happy to talk to him about it. It receives substantial local authority funding, but I think that it faces some uncertainty because other funding streams outwith the local authority have been withdrawn. I am happy to see whether we can find a solution.