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14 September 2011

Cuts hit young people hard in Hastings

James Ellis, Hastings

Hastings is the most deprived area in the south-east. With youth unemployment at 29% and rising, prospects for young people in the town look bleak.

Sussex Coast College is facing a 25% cut in its funding, on top of 8.5 million in loan repayments, putting scores of jobs at risk. This new college was not long ago seen as a sign of progress in Hastings, and it is a terrible irony that it is now in the frontline of the Tory and Liberal cuts.

There has been a 10% drop in applications this year and the principal, Mr Patel, believes this is in large part down to the scrapping of EMA. The college will spend 2 million inviting private companies to rent space in the college buildings and encouraging students to work in these outlets.

Local youth services and youth centres are also facing cuts and closure. Xtrax, a local group that helps disadvantaged young people into work, is having its government grant taken away.

"We lose staff, expertise and obviously the chance for young people to make a better life for themselves" said Andy Batsford from Xtrax. The group does a lot of good work in the town helping young people to see their potential but this government has decided that those young people are not worth the money.

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