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Youth Services

Volume 565: debated on Monday 24 June 2013

In December 2011, “Positive for Youth” set out, for the first time, an overarching vision for youth policy, a key principle of which is that local authorities are best placed to decide how to shape their services to meet the needs of local young people. Their duty to secure sufficient services is outlined in the revised statutory guidance issued in June 2012. This Government have also spent an additional £141 million in a network of 63 myplace youth centres to support local youth service provision.

In the aftermath of the appalling killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, the Prime Minister heard at first hand while visiting Woolwich about, among other things, the importance of a more proactive role for the youth service in providing constructive alternative options for young people at risk of being sucked into extremism or criminal gangs. Has the Department for Education yet submitted evidence to the Government’s taskforce on extremism? If not, will this be given priority by the Department?

The right hon. Gentleman raises a very important and serious point, which is all the more echoed around this Chamber today, as we will hear later during the Home Secretary’s statement. This is a priority for this Government and this Department. We have already submitted some evidence to the taskforce, and we will play a full and active role to make sure it achieves its objectives.