PROPOSALS to cut youth service staff numbers by more than half are to be discussed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council next week.

Under the plans, which would also see the council relinquish control of Llantwit Major Youth Centre, the number of council-funded staff delivering youth services to those aged 11-25 in the Vale would decrease from 53 to 25.

The number of universal access staff – who provide services such as youth clubs and holiday schemes – could be cut to just nine, while service provision is set to be reduced from 50 weeks a year to 39.

Full-time workers remaining in their posts would also see a reduction in their hours, from 37 to 25 a week, although most of the positions at risk of being scrapped are part-time.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council have said the new model will encourage community groups to support the council by taking on additional responsibilities for youth services, and will save around £63,000 over two years.

They also argue that reforming the current employee model will make it easier to recruit and retain staff, and that streamlined services will be able to better focus on the types of programmes that young people are most interested in – such as Duke of Edinburgh Awards and qualifications.

But public sector trade union Unison have described the measures as "draconian," warning of links between cuts to youth services and an increase in anti-social crime.

Unison branch secretary Glenn Pappas said: "The high quality service provided by qualified youth workers is going to end. This wrong-headed decision means most young people will no longer have the option of approaching a qualified youth worker.

"With only nine members of staff spread across the region, it will be impossible to build trust or rapport with young people, some of whom will have learning difficulties.

"Conservative policies are ripping up quality youth service provision. Austerity means over the next few years young people in Wales will have been denied access to youth services, leisure centres and library facilities.

"This is no way to treat our youth."

Vale of Glamorgan cabinet member for learning and skills, Cllr Bob Penrose, said: "The plans have been designed to enable the council to provide a sustainable and effective service in the future.

"If these are agreed the council will seek to increase contact with young people by using a mobile and agile workforce, increase staff hours and ensure that those staff on enhanced hours are available to schools and communities to support local initiatives.

"The proposal does not seek to diminish support for young people but rather aims to enhance and improve how it is delivered."

The proposals are set to be discussed at a meeting of the council's scrutiny committee on Monday, March 26.