FEARS about the impact of government cuts on youth services have been raised by Bolton MP Julie Hilling during the Labour Party conference.
Ms Hilling was a guest speaker at a seminar hosted by the National Youth Agency at the event at Manchester Central yesterday.
The Bolton West MP — a former youth worker and current president of the British Youth Council — said the government wanted things doing “for free”, and claimed it could result in youth services not being delivered by trained professionals She said: “Difficult choices have to be made by councils — do you fix the school roof or do you fund youth services?
But do you reach a point where services are cut so much that you are not reaching enough young people?
“We need to ensure quality of service is delivered, in the same way as have qualified teachers delivering services.
“It’s a huge task to convince politicians that youth work is a service that needs to be up there with others in the local authority sector.”
Ms Hilling revealed she is now part of a Labour youth policy development group, which will be formulating the Party’s strategy for young people for its 2015 manifesto.
After the meeting she told The Bolton News: “Bolton’s youth service has been cut over a period of time but nationally youth services are being cut disproportionately.”
“We recently visited Fox Street Youth Club in Horwich and some of the young people there told us if they weren’t there, they’d be drinking on the street.”
The MP also attended a meeting hosted by charity Action for Children, where she met young people including some from Horwich, Great Lever and Bury — some of whom were in care.