LGA Briefing, Challenges facing young people, House of Lords, 13 December 2018

Local government has a central role to play in tackling a number of issues facing young people, and supporting them to live the lives they want to lead.

Key messages

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  • The challenges facing young people span a range of issues, including poverty, housing, skills and employment, access to training and careers advice, access to mental and physical health and wellbeing services, and exposure to violence, crime and exploitation. Local government has a central role to play in tackling a number of these issues and supporting young people to live the lives they want to lead.
  • Welfare reforms are reducing the support young people can receive. These reforms are also having an impact on disabled people, single parent families and care leavers.
  • The learning from phase 2 of the Government’s Troubled Families programme shows the benefits of considering the interplay between the wide range of challenges facing young people and their families.
  • Councils are committed to improving the availability and affordability of housing for young people. There are currently over 120,000 children in temporary accommodation, underlining the scale of the challenge. We are also working to improve access to the private rented sector for young adults.
  • We welcome the Government’s commitment to the skills agenda (£10.5 billion in 2016/17) and call on this work to be streamlined. The funding is 2016/17 was delivered by eight different Whitehall departments or agencies, across 20 different national schemes, with different criteria and eligibility for each.[i] This makes the system difficult to access and hampers people’s ability to retrain or upskill to improve their employability.
  • The Government’s children’s services Early Intervention Grant has been reduced by £600 million since 2013 and is projected to decrease by almost £100 million more by 2020. Children’s services are facing a wider funding gap of £3 billion by 2025 and councils’ public health budgets have been reduced by £600 million between 2015/16 and 2019/20.
  • We welcomed the additional NHS funding announced in the Budget to prioritise mental health services for children and young people. However, funding crisis mental health services while reducing the funding for prevention services is not a sustainable model for the young people relying on these services, or on long-term public service budgets. 
  • The LGA’s Bright Futures campaign highlights the incredible early intervention and prevention work that councils across the country are doing to support our children and young people. This work needs sustainable funding.
  • We are extremely concerned by the activity of county lines gangs that often exploit children, young people and vulnerable adults to commit crimes. They use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons to assert control. This is an issue which affects all local areas.

[i] LGA, 2017. Work Local: our vision for an integrated and devolved employment and skills service