On the BBC Election Debate 2017, during a discussion about security in the wake of last month’s terror attack in Manchester that left 22 people dead, Plaid Cymruleader Leanne Wood said the UK is “less safe” as a result of there being fewer youth workers engaging young people.
“In terms of the cuts to public services – that’s had an impact [on safety],” Wood said.
“One small example [is] youth work. When you had a well-funded youth service there were youth workers available to challenge the ideology of young people.
“I’m saying austerity has cut youth workers and there are fewer people around to challenge the root cause – the ideology that spurs these people on.”
Funding for youth services has dropped by around £700m since 2010. Government data shows that local authorities spent £1.2bn on youth services in 2010/11 but by 2015/16, this had fallen to £500m.