Surrey is halving the funding for Claygate and Weybridge youth centres. Given the cut is so severe, Surrey has given the youth centre management committees time to raise funds from other sources before withdrawing its own funding – although it will not wait for ever (or even a year). If you are in a position to offer support then please get in touch.
How did this happen?
It began with the Conservative state administration reducing its contribution to
local government revenues. This is particularly painful because local government in England (unlike in most countries) is heavily restricted in how it may raise its own funds. Even the tax that it is allowed to raise is heavily controlled by the state. For example, income tax, national insurance and VAT increase year on year with inflation but council tax decreases. The state even proscribes local governments’ ability to keep council tax in line with inflation; a situation that would not be tolerated in America, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy or Spain.
Surrey has chosen to cut its youth services across the county by 11% in nominal terms. It could have cut the service in all districts by the same amount. Fortunately, the youth service took the view that it was time to examine need across the county afresh.
The primary directive is to ensure neets (young people not in education, employment or training) get into sustainable work and then to reduce neets to zero. To disburse funds across the county according to need, the neets have to be located and various other indicators of deprivation have to be assembled. The county used eleven indictors and determined that Elmbridge would have its funding increased by 6% – despite the general county cut of 11%.
Surrey took this analysis down to town level within Elmbridge itself to match the service provision with need. This has meant that some towns, for example, Claygate and Weybridge had their service reduced and others, for example, Cobham had theirs increased. Ditton and Oxshott have no provision from Surrey.