Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement, Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England & Wales, said:

“YMCA welcomes the Government’s focus on levelling up and supporting young people in today’s Autumn budget announcement.

“The success and economic prosperity of the country rests upon ensuring young people are invested in and have access to the skills they need to form the qualified, high-tech workforce of the future. Therefore, YMCA is delighted to see the Government’s commitment to £3.8Bn in skills funding, including apprenticeships and T Levels. This funding must be targeted to support and improve outcomes for disadvantaged young people and ensure that they can achieve the skills, qualifications, and employability to find good jobs.

“As we know all too well, youth services also play a vital role in supporting young people to achieve these goals, as well as enabling them to simply enjoy being young, and so it is reassuring to see a recommitment to the YIF as part of the £560m funding announcement after more than a decade of decline in spending.

“YMCA stands ready to deliver its role in supercharging our youth services with this funding, but the Government must provide critical investment in revenue as well as hiring youth workers to provide the open-access services young people need within the existing infrastructure.

“The Government is also right to recognise early years provision as a key service in ensuring positive outcomes for young people in their development, as research shows that 40% of the gap in attainment outcomes between disadvantaged and other children is evident by age five.

“Providers currently struggle with a funding gap of £1.07 per child for free childcare places for disadvantaged families, and so the Government’s pledge of £170m for providers must be used to address this funding gap and ensure that early years provision is sustainable and able to provide for children and families.

“Additionally, the £300m funding for family hubs has the potential to be hugely beneficial, as we know from experience, this can make a vast difference to people’s lives.

“YMCA strongly welcomes the Government’s announcement to introduce an 8% cut to Universal Credit Taper and ensure support for working families and those on lowest income. For young people who have experienced homelessness, this relief will make all the difference to their ability to live independently and rebuild their lives. In addition, the Government’s commitment to ending rough sleeping remains vitally important, and we look forward to working with them in order to deliver this sustainably.

“Overall, YMCA is encouraged to see such positive commitment to the needs of young and vulnerable people in today’s announcement, and stand ready to support them as they carve out a better and brighter future in 2021 and beyond.”

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