A CONSULTATION into devastating cuts to youth services has been labelled “tokenistic”.

Brighton and Hove City Council has launched a consultation on £800,000 of youth service cuts with the consultation closing just days before councillors vote on the budget.

Campaigners are ratcheting up the pressure in pushing for a U-turn with a march and major public meeting planned in the upcoming weeks.

Teenage campaigners grilled councillors on the cuts at Thursday’s policy, resources and growth committee, warning there would be nothing left for youngsters in the city by 2020.

Council leader Warren Morgan said the blame lay with the Government and invited young campaigners to join him and Hove MP Peter Kyle to take the argument to Number 10 next month.

As well as the loss of the £400,000 funding to youth charities, the council’s in-house youth team is facing a similarly devastating cut which campaigners said puts support for the Duke of Edinburgh award, mobile youth services and the youth cabinet under threat.

Youth charities said they were speaking up on behalf of their council counterparts who were being prevented from speaking out.

Adam Muirhead, of the Trust for Developing Communities, said: “The consultation does feel tokenistic.

“It’s a shame this exercise didn’t happen before the proposals were drawn up, but we will push for everybody to tell the council what a bad idea this is.

“It’s a bit frustrating it has been limited to 16 to 24-years-olds because other people in the community could explain how they are benefiting from youth services really tangibly.

“Our youngsters are getting a political awakening most people don’t get in their whole lives. They have been so energised by their campaigning.”

Ben Glazebrook, of Impact Initiatives, said: “What is going to happen if the consultation gets an amazing response that says these cuts should not be happening?

“Will that change anything?

“It feels like the budget decision has already been made and was made in November. The process is all back-to-front.

“It has been peculiarly positive for our young people. They have been leading on proposals for the campaign. They have a lot of resilience.

“They are used to having something they like taken away from them but despondency may come in March if the budget decision does not go our way.”

A council spokesman said the consultation was launched after an “accurate picture” of the proposed cuts emerged and discussions with voluntary sector and council staff had taken place.

He added: “Councillors will have access to the consultation responses prior to budget council. An analysis of the results of the consultation will be provided to inform decision making.”