20 August 2011

Southwark Labour - working hard for young people

There has understandably been lots of concern in recent weeks about the levels of help and support for young people in Southwark. I thought I’d post some information about what the Labour Council is doing in this area.

First things first, Southwark’s Labour Council believes in investing in our young people. That's why, despite receiving the worst government budget cuts in London, we are:

- keeping all our Children's Centres open and funded at last year's levels

- bringing in universal Free Healthy School Meals for our primary school pupils

- helping tackle child obesity and putting money in parents' pockets just when they need it most

- creating a new Youth Fund - investing £3m in helping young people stay on in education and get a foot on the jobs ladder.

There are three strands to the youth fund: support for further education, support for tuition fees for higher education and employment opportunities. The higher education tuition fees strand was launched this week. The other strands will launch in the next few weeks and months. You can find out a bit more about the youth fund in this Guardian article. Southwark Labour’s work for young people is led by Catherine McDonald.

The council is seeking to counteract the Lib Dem-Tory government’s policies which are moving in the opposite direction. In my view they have done more to close off opportunities to young people from deprived areas than any government in living memory. They have:

- scrapped the Education Maintenance Allowance (and replaced it with a scheme worth a third of the value and that only guarantees funding to 12,000 pupils across the country)

- hiked tuition fees to an average £8161

- allowed youth unemployment reach record highs.

Southwark Labour will keep young people at the top of the council's agenda so that they can make the most of their talents and fulfil their ambitions – it’s good for them and it’s good for our future economy.

I would encourage any interested residents to apply for the Youth Fund by clicking here.

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