Lighter touch promised on Youth Opportunity Card penalties

The government has signalled its intention to water down plans to automatically take away money from young people who engage in antisocial behaviour.

Under plans to take forward proposals set out in July’s youth green paper, the government has confirmed that a new Youth Opportunity Card will be piloted in 10 areas over the next two years to find out whether putting the spending power in the hands of young people leads to an increase in their uptake of positive activities.

However, it has acknowledged that original plans to refuse to top up cards of any young people engaging in unacceptable or antisocial behaviour could be counter-productive.

“We recognise that many misbehaving young people could be helped by participating in positive activities and to take money away at such a stage could marginalise and demotivate them further,” the Youth Matters: Next Steps document explains.

The government promises instead to work with young people and professionals to develop an approach which will “achieve the right balance”.

Almost half of the adults and organisations who responded to the youth green paper consultation were sceptical about the Youth Opportunity Card plan, and only a third actually gave the idea their full backing.

While there was greater support for a card that gave discounts and money to spend on activities among young people, with 83% believing it would encourage them to do more in their spare time, “hard to reach” young people were generally less convinced that such a card would benefit them.

The 10 pilot areas are Bolton, Cambridgeshire, Camden, Durham, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Nottingham, Suffolk, Sunderland and Tower Hamlets.

Youth Matters: Next Steps from

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