‘No denying crippling government cuts to youth services has led to rise in violent crime’ says London mayor

Mayor and City Hall step in to fill �39m youth funding gap left by government. Picture: Tom Simpson/

Mayor and City Hall step in to fill �39m youth funding gap left by government. Picture: Tom Simpson/GLA - Credit: Tom Simpson/Greater London Autho

The mayor of London has stepped in with cash to help keep youngsters away from violence and knife crime in the face of “crippling” financial cuts to youth services by the government.

Sadiq Khan has released details today of hundreds of activities during the half-term, from theatre workshops and music sessions to computer coding clubs and cooking classes.

“Massive reductions in government funding have caused crippling cuts to youth services and to policing,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said. “There’s no denying that this has contributed to a rise in violent crime.

“But giving youngsters things to do is helping them make the right choices in life.

“That’s why I’m making sure that City Hall funding is available for activities over half term—something the government has failed to do.”

Activities include Tower Hamlets’ Tunes Against Knives project run by SocietyLinks to help teenagers create music to express their views on tackling knife crime. SocietyLinks set up in 2010 aims to bring radical lifestyle changes when the gap between the poorest and richest is widening.

Neighbouring Hackney has a project for sports and training to be coaches, while Newham is running a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and using digital technology to give new skills to youngsters.

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Applications are open for youth organisations, charities and schools to bid for a share of £15m from City Hall’s £45m ‘Young Londoners’ fund, available from May, to run activities and programmes.

But it doesn’t quite match the £20m handed out last year for 179 projects involving 63,000 youngsters.

Details of projects across London are online www.london.gov.uk/our-london with many activities funded by City Hall, but especially in the 10 London boroughs such as Tower Hamlets that are most affected by knife and violent crime.

The fund is already helping thousands of children and teenagers by covering the cost of events that City Hall says had been lost because of the government cuts.

An estimated £39m has been cut by Whitehall since 2011, reducing local authority youth service budgets by 44pc, with 81 youth centres having since closed down.