I’ve asked Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for a meeting to discuss the National Citizen Service’s underspend.
I asked for these figures in a FOI request to DCMS, but was refused because it could “undermine public confidence” in the NCS.
Since it was set up, the NCS has received £1.5 billion of public funding which accounts for 95% of direct Government spending on youth provision. In the same period, spending on youth services has fallen by 70%, 760 youth centres have closed their doors for good and over 14,000 youth workers have lost their jobs.
It is absolutely outrageous that the DCMS will not release these figures. This is public money and we have the right to scrutinise where this money is going, especially if the NCS is underspending by a significant amount and failing to justify its budget.
Refusing to release these figures sends a very concerning message from Government that the NCS is above public scrutiny. If the NCS is failing to attract the numbers, the Government must urgently reallocate this underspend to the many fantastic youth charities that are struggling to survive after years of funding cuts. I have written to the Secretary of State requesting a meeting to discuss this further.