The local areas that have experienced the largest cuts to their youth services budgets have reported some of the highest increases in knife crime, MPs have revealed.
Figures obtained by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime showed the average council has cut real-terms spending on youth services by 40% over the past three years, with some reducing their spending by 91%.
The APPG’s report also found there was a 68% increase in knife offences recorded by police in England and Wales over the same period - from 25,516 in the year ending March 2014 to 42,790 in the year ending September 2018.
Chair of the APPG, Sarah Jones, who is also a shadow minister for housing, communities and local government, said: ‘We cannot hope to turn around the knife crime epidemic if we don’t invest in our young people.
‘Our figures show how in areas where support for young people has been cut most they are more at risk of violence.'
Chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, said: ‘Councils must be given the resources they need to work with young people and prevent their involvement in crime in the first place rather than simply picking up the pieces after offences have been committed.’