Friday, March 10, 2006

Investing in our youth...

I've tabled a written question on the amount of money Lincolnshire spends on youth services to be answered at today's County Council meeting.

My question is:

This Council currently spends 50 pence a week per individual on youth services, far lower than the average shire county.

When this was raised at last year’s budget, there was recognition by the Executive that a step change in funding was needed to invest in our young people and an understanding was given that the shortfall would be seriously addressed this year by the Council.

However, in settling the County Council Budget for the coming year, the Conservative administration increased spending on youth services by just £100,000 – an increase of tuppence on the 50 pence a week figure.

In the same Budget, spending to fund places at a public school increased to over £2m in the coming year.

May I ask the Executive Councillor if she believes the tuppence a week increase as the step change in funding promised a year ago?

Postscript: As the deadline for written Standing Order Questions approaches, the Labour Government is announcing a new investment of £115m to fund a major expansion of the youth services.

I understand that:

1. An average sized local authority will receive around £500,000 in additional investment for youth services over the next two years

2. The amount to be made available to Lincolnshire will be £607,495.

3. Lincolnshire has been named as one of the ten areas to pilot the new youth opportunity card, which will provide a cash top-up aimed at 13-19 year olds who are looked after children or those in free school meals.

Would the Executive Councillor join me in welcoming this real cash investment for our most disadvantaged young people in Lincolnshire?

Would she please say what plans she has to improve the wider youth service in the county?

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