Hartlepool Lib Dem candidate promises cash to tackle youth crime in the town
The Liberal Democrats have promised to more than double spending on youth services in Hartlepool to help tackle rising levels of crime.
The election promise means the total being spent would be almost £1.3m.
This, says Lib Dem candidate Andy Hagon would form part of a total ring-fenced fund of £500m which will be available for local authorities across England to spend on youth services.
The aim of the fund is to enable councils to provide more young people with positive, safe and healthy alternatives to gangs.
They claim that, under the Conservatives, council spending on youth services has been cut by £300 million – or 40% - since 2015.
During that time, they say knife crime nationally has risen by 80% - 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.
Mr Hagon, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hartlepool said: “The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for our young people by spending an extra £700,000 a year on youth services in Hartlepool.
“I’ve been a volunteer youth worker for Hartlepool council myself, so I know how important these services are.
“With a Liberal Democrat government, young people will have the support and opportunities they deserve, our local communities will be stronger and people here will feel safer.”
The Liberal Democrats would also take a public health approach to tackling 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.
The general election takes place on Thursday, December 12, and the other candidates declared so far are Mike Hill, representing The Labour Party; Richard Tice, representing the Brexit Party, and Kevin Cranney, who is representing Socialist Labour.