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'Something has seriously gone wrong' - Council youth service policy attacked in community report
Campaigners have attacked "cuts" to youth services they say were never made - asking why spending has risen while the number of activities provided has fallen.
A group claiming to represent the community in the borough has been working for the past two years to produce a report, entitled Misspent Youth.
The report - due to be discussed by Haringey Borough Council's children and young people's scrutiny panel yesterday evening - says youth services have been cut despite an apparent increase in the budget.
According to the report, the service's current budget is £2.1million, compared to £1.8m in 2010, despite the council announcing a cut to services of 75 per cent in 2011.
Campaigner Jason Akinfenwa, who helped compile the report, said: "Something has seriously gone wrong. The public and elected councillors were led to believe a cut needed to take place and had, and now it transpires it was not needed and has not.
"The money is there to provide young people with the services they want and need, but the council is just not delivering. For the sake of accountability this matter needs to be investigated."
The report says the council's youth strategy does not show how money is spent, how it will benefit the borough or what people should expect.
The group is calling for a financial audit of the youth service's funding during the past two years and for the full-time opening of youth centres.
Fellow campaigner and co-author Seema Chandwani, said: "Systematically between October 2010 and April 2011, young people lost more than 80 per cent of their services under the guise of budget cuts we now understand did not happen.
"A lot has occurred in that time, including riots which devastated the Tottenham community. I hope the council works swiftly to rectify this, starting with the reopening of the council's three youth centres."
Haringey Council has disputed the claims made in the report.
A spokesman contested whether the budget figures had been used correctly, saying the claims were inaccurate and could lead residents into thinking there had not been cuts to youth or council services.
He added: “We are working to continue to improve our youth service in what are challenging times for the sector locally and nationally, and we are happy to engage in a debate with the authors of the report if they come forward.”
The council’s Youth Strategy 2011 to 2014 is due to be discussed today at a meeting of the Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel at 5pm.