Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire today refused to support a Conservative move to give officials the green light to identify more cuts to the council’s youth services. Despite this opposition, the Tories used their majority to force the decision through.
The council’s Children & Young People’s Committee was this afternoon asked to agree to consult on a new round of savings to the youth service budget. These services have already suffered savage cuts in recent years, and now face making ever more savings as a consequence of the government’s austerity programme.
The youth activities budget supports youth centres and youth activities across South Gloucestershire but gives extra funds to the district’s six Priority Neighbourhoods. Labour backed a move to continue to protect services in these Priority Neighbourhoods, but opposed the move to raid the wider budget.
Labour’s Lead Member on youth matters, Councillor Gareth Manson (Woodstock ward) commented:
‘The committee was told that although officers are looking at other savings options they were not at liberty to share them as they have not been given clearance to do so from the ruling Tories. The ruling Tories ought to look for savings elsewhere in the council budget or ask their colleagues in government for extra funds but, instead, they have turned to the easy option of taking the knife to the youth activities budget yet again.’
A request for the decision to be referred to all 70 councillors for consideration was also voted down by the Conservatives.