COUNCIL bosses who are axing the county’s youth service have announced £300,000 “more funding” to ease the transition to “community-led” activities for young people.
But Liberal Democrats say much of this money was already in the accounts of youth centres that are being forced to close.
And it was raised by young people themselves to help pay for activities and equipment, or came from grants allocated to specific youth projects.
The rest had been set aside for youth centre maintenance.
And the cash will not be shared out evenly.
Instead it will be returned to the areas it came from.
So some places will get thousands of pounds more than others.
The LibDems say this is unfair.
They are furious because last Tuesday their leader Jon Hubbard urged the Tories who control Wiltshire Council to invest an extra £225,000, saved on executive salaries, in making sure the changeover is as painless as possible.
But they refused, saying that was not the point of making savings.
The next day, cabinet member Laura Mayes announced the “further funding” of £300,000 in “locally raised money”.
It was more than the entire amount–- £270,000 – previously allocated to be shared out by area boards countywide from October.
Cllr Hubbard said “They effectively admitted they’d got it all wrong.
"And to describe this funding as new is simply a despicable misrepresentation of the truth.
“It leaves a really unpleasant taste in the mouth.
“The dishonesty of this process is one that shames me as a councillor.
“But at least it will reduce the harm done by the bungled programme of cuts.”
Cllr Hubbard is now asking what will happen to all the equipment in youth centres that close, and to any youth funding unspent by area boards at the year’s end.
No councillor was available to answer our questions, but a Wiltshire Council spokesman said the money was “already within the local areas” and |communities would decide how to spend it.
They added: “It could help pay for any set-up costs as communities work with young people to ensure they have activities they enjoy.”