SERVICES for young people across South Cheshire face severe cuts as Government savings start to bite.

Connexions Cheshire and Warrington delivers a range of services for young people across the region.

But the organisation has been told that some £1.7m must be saved in the remaining half of the current financial year.

Substantial staffing reductions and cuts to youth provision in Crewe and Nantwich will be made across all services including those to vulnerable young people.

These include services for teenage parents and young job seekers.

Local authorities receive funding from central Government to provide Connexions services but the decision is taken locally as to how much of a cut to apply.

Labour group leader, Crewe councillor Dorothy Flude said: “They have already been taking funding out of the service every year for the past few years and with this news, you have to wonder whether they want a Connexions service in Cheshire East at all?

“Making these cuts is a real false economy. Connexions is primarily an employment service and the reduction will mean that a lot more young people will not get jobs or places at university.

“It is the long term future of the area that is going to suffer and this is just another cut that is not necessary.

“The North West Development Agency has already said there will be no Crewe Vision project, no gateway scheme and no link road.

“These are all things that young people would have been involved in at some point.”

The cuts will mean a reduction in opening hours at youth clubs and the closure of some clubs altogether.

The company further provides funding to voluntary and community groups and this money will also be reduced.

Chief executive Steve Hoy said: “The size of these cuts is deep and very major and is made all the worse by the need to save the full annual amount but in half a year.

“Across the company it is expected more than 70 staff will be made redundant, with services being substantially reduced.”

UNSON, the public services union, has condemned cuts in the services as ‘madness’.

Union leaders said that cutting the careers service with over a million young people out of work, and a shortage of university places, is unbelievable.

They also point out that extra spending on countering anti-social behaviour will be undone by a decision that will cut the number of youth workers and youth clubs.

Union spokesman Ray Hale said: “This is a clear example of a failure of joined-up Government.

“Cutting the service will be more costly in the long run, and will impact on communities through an increased number of young people hanging around on the street and causing anti-social behaviour.”