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Youth services suffer ‘stealth cut’ of more than £400m, Labour claims

youth services

Youth services suffer ‘stealth cut’ of more than £400m, Labour claims

Last week’s budget included a stealth cut to funding for youth services worth more than £400m over the next three years, Labour has claimed.

In his budget speech last Wednesday, Rishi Sunak said: “as we level up public services, we’re also levelling up communities – restoring the pride people feel in the places they call home.

“To do that, we’re providing £560m for youth services, enough to fund up to 300 youth clubs across the country.”

However, the Conservatives had already promised a £500m Youth Investment Fund in 2019; and the National Citizen Service, which provides young people with volunteering opportunities, has received an average of £178m over the past three years, according to Labour analysis.

If the NCS continued to be funded at that level, and the £500m Youth Investment Fund was additional money, that would total more than £1bn over the next three years – almost twice Sunak’s announced figure.

Separately, analysis by the House of Commons library carried out for Labour shows that public spending on services for young people in England has been cut by two-thirds in real terms over the past 10 years.

Shadow minister for young people, Cat Smith, said: “with Conservative cuts year on year, it is no surprise we’ve seen a rise of anti-social behaviour alongside the huge challenge of violent crime and county lines. Youth services prevent serious youth violence that costs taxpayers and ruins young people’s lives.”

“Given how much has been stripped away from youth services over the last decade by the Conservatives, this disguised cut from the government is likely to force many grassroots youth organisations to close.”

As MPs continued to debate the budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Labour MPs accused Sunak of failing to make up for more than a decade of austerity – comparing his promise of new “family hubs,” to the more than 500 Sure Start centres scrapped since 2010, for example.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport conceded that the £560m promised by Sunak would include the cost of running the pre-existing NCS, which was set up by David Cameron.

“We are determined to give every child the best start in life and level up opportunity across the country,” they said. “Last week we announced plans to invest £560m to make sure youth services get the support they need. This includes funding the construction or refurbishment of up to 300 youth facilities in the most deprived areas of the country, and supporting the running of the NCS over the next three years.”

The spokesperson also pointed to almost £5bn set aside for helping school pupils catch up with lost learning in the wake of the pandemic – though that is significantly less than was recommended by the government’s own adviser on the issue, , who quit in protest.

Sunak’s third budget included a slew of spending promises, as the Conservatives seek to live up to their promise to “level up” neglected parts of the UK; but he also held out the prospect of tax cuts in the run-up to the next election.

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Chief Of Defence Staff Says Military Under Pressure To Compromise 2023 Polls

The Nigerian military on Thursday revealed that despite the fact that it is facing constant pressure to compromise the 2023 elections, it will continue to be neutral.

General Lucky Irabor,  Chief of Defence Staff disclosed this to journalists at the 61st session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

According the him, military personnel face pressure through inducements, but the armed forces would remain apolitical as it is taking the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the directive of the President Muhammadu Buhari  to maintain neutrality.

Irabor added that personnel are being trained to be more professional even as the rules of engagement have been codified for distribution before, during and after the elections.

The CDS also revealed that several military rescue operations and negotiations have led to the freeing of at least 300,000 people from the hands of their abductors since 2014 while refugees who fled the North-East due to insurgency, have started to return.

He said that former insurgents, now being trained, would graduate in February next year before their reintegration into the society. He added that the military is recruiting more personnel into all branches of the security services.

The goal, Irabor said, is to increase the number of on-the-ground personnel to combat insurgency and banditry and curtail oil theft which will eventually lead to increased crude oil production.

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ICPC Arraigns NSCDC Official Over N12m job Scam

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned a Superintendent of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Solomon Ogodo, over allegations bordering on forgery, employment racketeering, and fraud.

ICPC, in charge no: CR/503/2022 brought before Justice M.S. Idris of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Jabi, Abuja, accused the defendant of defrauding unsuspecting job seekers the N12.2 million.

In the five-count charge, the commission told the court that the accused person on different occasions hoodwinked members of the public into parting with different sums of money in the guise of securing employment for their relatives in the Nigeria Correctional Services (NCoS).

The court was further informed of how Mr. Ogodo, with the intent to commit fraud, forged offers of provisional appointments for some applicants into the Nigeria Correctional Services.

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Okonjo Iweala Makes Forbes List Of World’s Most Powerful Women

A former Nigerian minister of finance and current Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been named one of Forbes’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2022.

Forbes, an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family, has a particular focus on business, technology, communications, science, politics, and law.

The African leadership person of the year awards are vote-based and reserved yearly for leading Africans who are making positive impacts and promoting a favourable image of the continent.

Okonjo-Iweala polled over 60 percent of the 15,000 votes in the category at the close of the poll on 2nd of December 2022.

Forbes said, “The World Trade Organization head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (No. 91 of 100) continue to play a crucial role in providing financial assistance and promoting global trade as the threat of a global recession rises.”

Recall that Okonjo-Iweala was recognized by another media platform, Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people in 2021.

This would be Okonjo-Iweala’s 6th recognition in her career.

Okonjo-iweala reacted on Twitter, saying that she was excited by the awards she had received in her career.

“An honour and a privilege to be part of this list of a very distinguished group of women for the 6th time in my career, Congratulations to my other sisters. Let’s continue to show that good governance, good public policy and a people-centered approach to work matters,” he said.

Winners for the 11th edition of the award shall be presented with the honour on 16th of February 2023, at a ceremony scheduled to be held in Port Louis, Mauritius.

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