05/06/2015

Teenagers Risk 'Being Left Behind' - LGA

Teenagers not in employment, education or training (NEET) risk being "left behind" by growth if council services are not reformed.

Currently almost 738,000 young people across England are NEET.

A Local Government Association (LGA) survey has revealed 7% of councils say they have adequate powers and funding to secure future opportunities for 16 to 18-year-olds.

The central government has cut funding by 40% since 2010 in areas including careers advice, national engagement programmes and further education.

The survey reveals nine out of ten councils have been forced to reduce spending support for 16 to 18-year-olds.

The LGA has called on the government to return key powers.

82% of survey respondents agreed greater devolution would enable them to further reduce youth disengagement, while 86% said they could deliver "better value for money" with the resources.

However the majority of councils, 97%, have warned without a reform and the return of key powers, the continued cuts will put services for vulnerable teenagers at risk by 2020.

Councillor David Simmonds said: "The message from local government is clear.

"Cuts without reform risk undoing all of our collective good work, putting thousands of promising futures at risk.

"Councils are uniquely well placed to help young people access the opportunities created by the local employers increasingly frustrated by remote national institutions.

"It is important that we have the powers, levers and funding to fulfil our legal duties to young people."

(LM)

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