A BROMSGROVE councillor has warned that cuts to youth services must be reversed to prevent a spike in violent crime.

Peter McDonald blamed a national increase in youth crime on austerity - and said 'alarm bells should be ringing' in Worcestershire.

It comes as councils have warned the Government against making further funding cuts to youth offending teams as knife crime continues to come under the spotlight.

Efforts to stop children joining gangs and becoming involved in violent crime will be “undermined” if funding to tackle youth offending is cut further, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

Figures show that youth justice grants, which fund the work of youth offending teams within councils, have been halved from £145 million in 2010/11 to £71.5 million in 2018/19, the LGA added.

The country has been rocked by a string of high-profile stabbings which have led to the issue being described as a “national emergency”.

In nearby Northfield three men were stabbed during a fight at a nightclub on Friday night.

The scene was just yards away from where Bromsgrove MP and Home Secretary Sajid Javid stood earlier in the day, to discuss the knife crime crisis.

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Mr McDonald, the former leader of the Worcestershire County Council's Labour Group, said: "A recent survey of youth workers across the UK by Unison, has found that 83 per cent of respondents said cuts to services had led to increased local crime and anti-social behaviour around stations, shops and parks.

"You did not need to be expert in this area to predict that if you closed down youth centres you would be throwing young people onto the streets and there would be consequences.

"The very fact that youth centres were funded by the local authorities in the first place was to get young people of the streets and help young people gain self-confidence and self-esteem and away from criminal activities."

He said that Worcestershire County Council had been "relentless" in closing down youth centres, as well as libraries and children's services.

He added: "Just how many young people have to lose their lives and be imprisoned before positive action is taken?

"The alarm bells are ringing all around us, it's time the county council knocked on the door of Number 10 Downing Street and got more money for Worcestershire."

Worcestershire County Council was unavailable for comment.