If Boris Johnson had any vision he would invest in people, not buildings | Simon Jenkins

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The prime minister can’t resist his hi-vis and hard hat, but spending on quality of life and culture would be better for our communities

What do politicians desperate for headlines always promise? They promise to build something. On the day I heard my penniless local youth club was about to close, Boris Johnson offered a staggering £100m every week for 20 years to build just one new railway, HS2.

Last weekend it was announced that two-thirds of small youth clubs in England were facing closure, with 20% already closing or closed and 30% likely to go by June. According to the charity UK Youth, these groups are in the absolute frontline of social work, a a time when an estimated 1.5 million young people are at risk of domestic upheaval, school rejection, gangs, drugs and prison. While the nation can worry over children and students facing the loss of exams, most will survive. It is those who fall through the net who may not – and the costs to society will greatly exceed the amount needed to support them now.

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