Youngsters in “Red Wall” areas have been robbed of more cash through Tory cuts than those in richer parts of the country, figures reveal tonight.
Young people in the North and the West Midlands were disproportionately hit by “severe cuts” to youth services, Labour research showed.
Analysis commissioned from the House of Commons Library shows average spending per 16 to 24-year-old in the West Midlands dropped by 78% between 2011/12 and 2018/19 from £131 each to just £29 – a plunge of £102.
In the North East the amount plummeted by £101 from £160 to £59 – a fall of 63%; and in the North West it went from £152 to a paltry £54 – a £98 dip of 64%.
In Yorkshire and The Humber the figure fell from £160 to £64 – a £96 drop of 62%.
But youngsters in areas seen as a traditionally Tory were more cushioned against the cuts.
In the East of England, funding per head dropped from £111 to £55 – a £56 fall of 50%; and the East Midlands saw a £68 fall of 50% from £134 to £66.
Average per head funding for 16 to 24-year-olds across England fell by £86 from £142 to £56 – a drop of 61%.
Total cash for youth services fell by 62.5% from £893.2million to £335m.
Labour tonight urged the Government to unlock cash from its promised £500m Youth Investment Fund.
Shadow Minister for Young People Cat Smith said: “Youth services are a vital lifeline for young people, particularly those living in areas of deprivation.
“But with government cuts year on year, hundreds of youth centres have closed in every region, leaving young people isolated at this very difficult time.
“The Government pledged this funding over a year ago, yet not a penny has been spent.
“Youth services desperately need the Youth Investment Fund given how much has been stripped away from them over the last decade by the Conservatives.
“This new analysis demonstrates that the Conservatives have chronically underfunded the communities they pledged to represent in the last general election.
“Whilst the Tories keep breaking their promises to young people, a generation are being let down.”
A Government spokeswoman said: “We have provided £7.2billion in additional funding to local authorities across the country this year, who are responsible for allocating funding to youth services in line with local needs.
“We recognise the vital and important role youth services play in communities, which is why we recently announced a £16.5m fund for the youth sector and have provided more than £60m to children’s and youth organisations to help support them through the pandemic.
“In addition, over £2bn has been made available via the Kickstart Scheme to help young people into employment and £200m will support initiatives to help children and young people at risk of serious violence.
“We continue to work closely with the sector to direct help where it is needed.”