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Children’s and Youth Services

Volume 511: debated on Monday 7 June 2010

16. Which grants to local authorities for children’s services and youth services will continue to be ring-fenced. (816)

The Department for Communities and Local Government will be writing to local authorities with their revised grant allocations and details of the removal of ring-fences very shortly, including those affecting grants from the Department for Education.

The removal of those ring-fences will give local authorities greater flexibility to reshape their budgets and find the necessary savings that we expect them to make, while maintaining the quality of services to children and young people, which remain a priority of this Department.

Does the Minister agree that involving young people in determining youth service projects and the detail of spending on those projects is a good thing? Will he confirm that local authorities are to receive their full funding for this year’s youth opportunity fund and youth capital fund?

On the first point, I absolutely agree with the hon. Lady that young people’s involvement in, engagement with and ownership of youth services is vital, which is why, whenever I visit youth projects, I make a point of speaking to young people and asking them how they are involved in the project, and of promoting such things as youth mayors. In a neighbouring constituency to hers, the Bolton lads and girls club—a most fantastic facility that I have visited twice, and which the Prime Minister has visited as well—serves her constituents and does a fantastic job of engaging young people. I fully support that. It is just the sort of youth facility that we want to see more of.