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Hansard 14 Jan: Column 431 ...
Hansard 14 Jan: Column 431

Councils should not await the government's paper on the future of the youth service before acting to refocus young people, MPs were told yesterday.

Education and employment minister George Mudie said the government saw the youth service not only as carrying out its traditional tasks, but as a vital partner in efforts to end social exclusion and widening participation.

The first national audit of youth service work last year showed that some authorities spent just under£300 per youngster in their areas, but the amount in others fell below£20.

Mr Mudie declared: 'I urge local authorities and those responsible for the youth service to see ending social exclusion, widening participation and returning youngsters to either education or work as a vital part of their job. They need not necessarily wait for the consultation paper, or for anything else to happen; they should get on with the job of refocusing and helping youngsters:.

He added: 'Given a record revenue support grant settlement and a very good standard spending assessment for education, there is little excuse for any local authority not to take the youth service seriously'.

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