The Liberal Democrats have announced they would more than double investment in youth services in Greater Manchester, to help tackle rising levels of violence and knife crime.
This would be £27.2 million on top of the £22.6 million currently spent on youth services to total just under £50 million.
This would form part of a total ring-fenced £500 million for Local Authorities across England to spend on youth services, providing young people with positive, safe and healthy alternatives to gangs.
Under the Conservatives, council spending on youth services has been cut nationally by £300 million – or 40 per cent – since 2015. Knife crime has risen by 80% over the same period, with a record high of 47,500 offences recorded in the year to June 2019.
Research has also found the areas with the biggest cuts to youth services have seen some of the biggest increases in knife crime.
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats last month revealed a staggering 3,400 knife crimes in Manchester in the last 12 months alone.
The Liberal Democrats would also take a public health approach to tackle youth violence, modelled on the successful approach taken by Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit.
This would involve identifying risk factors and treating them early on, with youth workers, police, teachers, health professionals and social services all working closely together to prevent young people falling into gangs and violence.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Manchester John Leech said:
“I know that too many people in Greater Manchester feel unsafe walking down their own streets and journeys home alone after a night out can be a terrifying prospect.
“But for years, Labour and Tory Governments have been competing to look tough on crime, without doing enough to actually prevent it.
“Locally Labour has closed more than 20 community centres often without explanation or warning in Manchester alone.
“Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for young people by investing £50 million a year in youth services for young people in Greater Manchester.