Tory councils shut half their youth centres since David Cameron came to power

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This article, featuring research by Steve Reed, was originally published by the Daily Mirror. You can read the full story here.

Heartless Tory councils have shut down half their youth centres since David Cameron came to power, new figures show.

A damning survey of 105 local authorities reveals Tory-led councils have axed funding for 411 of their 811 youth centres since 2010.

By contrast Labour-led councils shut only a quarter of their vital centres, despite being slapped with far bigger funding cuts from Whitehall.

Labour warned the closures would lead to more anti-social behaviour and crime.

“Youth services help young people develop positive skills and healthy interests that they use to get on in life,” said shadow local government minister Steve Reed.

“When youth services close, too many young people are left to hang about on the streets where it’s all too easy for them to get into trouble.

“These figures show that only Labour councils are serious about protecting young people.”

Mr Reed pointed to Oxfordshire, where some young people now face a 40-mile round trip to visit one of seven new ‘youth hubs’ set up by the Tory council to replace 26 youth centres.

He said Labour has done a far better job of protecting youth services, in defiance of Treasury cuts.

George Osborne is expected to slash town hall budgets yet again in his spending review this autumn.

“The Government must lead by example and set out a fairer deal for councils, protecting those areas with the greatest needs and the services for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities,” Mr Reed said.