每日英語跟讀 Ep.K530: After Gutting Youth Services, Can U.K. Cut Youth Crime?
The Marcus Lipton Youth Club is the last dedicated youth center still standing in its pocket of south London.
But it is teetering. Nearly half of London’s youth centers have closed in the past decade as Britain has cut money for youth services, as well as for welfare, schools and drug and alcohol treatment, according to the most recent available data. Marcus Lipton used to count on hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in government funding. Now, it gets nearly zero.
“Just look around you,” said Ira Campbell, 55, the manager of the club, which offers counseling, warm meals and sports for young people. “This place is a safe haven.”
Marcus Lipton lies in the shadow of the Loughborough Estate public housing project, where two of the Conservative government’s longtime priorities — fighting crime and trying to reduce the budget deficit — collide.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is building new prisons and recruiting more police officers as part of his party’s pledge to be tough on crime. He has also proposed a budget that would make deep spending reductions in the coming years, forcing officials to find savings in programs that have already been whittled to the bone during a decade of austerity.
Budget cuts during that decade, instituted in response to the global financial crisis of 2008, hit the poorest neighborhoods of Britain’s capital particularly hard, according to the Institute for Government, an independent research group in London. Those neighborhoods are also where serious youth violence, like homicide, has risen or remained disproportionately high after austerity, data from the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan shows.
Annual knife violence involving teenage victims in the city increased by nearly 40% to 5,332 in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic began, from 3,809 in 2012, according to police figures obtained by The New York Times. (There was later a dip in serious youth violence during virus-related lockdowns, most likely because of reduced social contact.)
Residents of the Loughborough Estate, already frustrated by sharply rising utility bills and food costs, say that the government would rather pay to lock up young people than spend money on projects that might provide them with positive activities or help their parents to make ends meet.
已對急劇上漲水電費與食物價格感到沮喪的拉夫堡莊園居民們說，政府寧願花錢把年輕人關起來，也不願資助可為他們提供正面活動的計畫，或幫助他們的父母維持生計。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/6978804