Legal challenge to youth cuts is dismissed

PUBLISHED: 16:55 18 July 2012

Aaron Hunt with his mum Alice.

Aaron Hunt with his mum Alice.

Archant

A LEGAL challenge to stringent cash cuts within North Somerset Council's youth service has today (Wednesday) been dismissed by a top judge.

Youth provision has been among the areas hardest hit by the authority’s need to find around £47million of savings across its services.

A number of groups and projects have been forced to scale down or close after losing cash support, with 71 per cent of the youth budget axed.

The council’s decision-making was challenged in the High Court by 21-year-old Aaron Hunt, who claimed the move was unlawful because it had failed to properly consult with affected people.

Aaron, who lives in Banwell and used a youth club on Weston’s Bournville estate which catered for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said the cuts had ‘ripped apart’ his support system.

However, on Wednesday the High Court has now ruled against Aaron’s legal claim – a decision welcomed by the council.

A spokesman said: “We are delighted that the judge has dismissed the High Court judicial review regarding youth services.

“The judge’s decision acknowledges the tough choices being faced by the council in the current financial climate.

“Defending this action has been a drain on our resources and has cost the taxpayers of North Somerset in the region of £65,000 in legal fees and hundreds of hours of council officer time.

“The council is faced with having to save over £47million from our budget by 2015. From the outset we have said that we would look at how services could be delivered in a different way rather than simply cutting them.

“This is an example where community involvement as encouraged by Government has enabled us to keep delivering a service.

“This will remain our approach as we continue to support and work with the 11 networks being set up across the district which will deliver sustainable, positive activities for our children and young people in the future.”

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