Anti gang and knife crime funding to run out as City Hall works to dodge ‘cliff edge’

Cash from the mayor’s office goes towards supporting youth work schemes across the capital via the Young Londoners’ Fund - which is set to come to an end in 2022.

City Hall funding for youth services is set to run out. Photo: Shutterstock

Funding for projects helping young people avoid gangs and knife crime is set to run out - with warnings of a possible “cliff edge” threatening the wrap up of the foundation.

Cash from the mayor’s office goes towards supporting youth work schemes across the capital via the Young Londoners’ Fund (YLF).

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But the fund, which is not accepting new applications, is set to come to an end in 2022.

City Hall bosses have said work is being done to avoid a “cliff edge” for the initiatives backed by the foundation, including those aimed at tackling gangs and knife crime.

The Mayor of London is in charge of the £17bn budget for the whole of the capital, through the Greater London Authority (GLA) - with cash broken down into transport, policing, fire, planning and development, as well as the London Assembly (LA) and the mayor’s office.

Sadiq Khan must put together his financial proposals for the  GLA’s balance sheet each year, and submit it to the LA - who hold him to account on behalf of the public - for their scrutiny.

At a meeting of the budget and performance committee at City Hall today (Tuesday, November 23), assembly members grilled the mayor’s team on his draft fiscal plans.

Sarah Mulley, communities director, said the YLF was intended to run for a set time period.

“We are trying to make sure there is not a cliff edge,” she said. “We know we won’t be able to fund long term to the level we have been able to fund the youth sector through the YLF.”

Ms Mulley told the committee the fund had supported over 100,000 young people, and was not ending “immediately”, with the second round of projects extending into 2022.

She said: “The ambition is that all young Londoners can access a mentor and quality youth activities by 2024 and it makes sense for us to focus on those most in need.”

The draft budget document states: “A number of time-limited programmes, including the YLF (which is funded from one-off resources), will currently come to an end after 2022-23.”

Ms Mulley said projects had been given flexibility to extend their timetables, and were being trained to achieve financial stability once the funding ends, with local support put in place.

But Krupesh Hirani, Labour member for Brent and Harrow, said “significant programmes”, including the YLF, the Green New Deal and the Borough of Culture had funding “at risk”.

He said: “You’ve heard the mayor talk significantly about TfL and sounding the alarm for London’s transport.

“Do we also need to be sounding the alarm for other mainstream projects at City Hall?”

He said the mayor had made a manifesto commitment to increase funding for youth services and said “the public will expect the YLF to continue year on year”.

David Bellamy, the GLA chief of staff, said: “We’ve always been clear these were things and levels of expenditure we couldn’t accommodate within our core budget.”

While Richard Watts, deputy chief of staff, added that “a lot of work” was being done to set up successor arrangements to ensure investment in youth services carries on.

“The YLF has been one of the biggest sources of state funding for youth work in our city, if not the biggest, and made an enormous difference, and we are rightly very proud of it,” he said.