I SHOULD like to follow up my friend Alan Laurie's letter of August 1, headlined Helping youth.

Alan is rare survivor of the generation who served throughout the last war. Like many he returned to civilian life grateful to be alive and determined to help build a better society.

The Welfare State was developed with public investment in health, welfare and youth services, education and housing.

We had Home Secretaries like Jenkins, Callaghan and Whitelaw who had also endured the war and reflected a noble sense of public service.

By no means soft on crime, they recognised the need to invest in programmes of prevention.

We now have a successor in that great office of state, Priti Patel  – her own family refugees from Uganda in the Sixties – determined to curb immigration and to "strike terror in the hearts of offenders".

I wonder what she has in mind?

The promise of more police on the beat will no doubt earn  support at the Police Federation Conference and the party conference.

I remember Edwina Currie being cheered for brandishing handcuffs there some 30 years ago.

In recent times we have seen the demolition of a well respected, professional probation service and youth services at county level reduced to a token presence.

The premises in Lower Galdeford, which the likes of Peter Corston fought for over many years, are now redundant and I believe the annual allocation to youth work in Ludlow is about £10,000.

Home Start, which Alan himself helped to establish, has had its funding withdrawn and the national Sure Start has been severely cut.

Anti-social behaviour is not curbed by any quick fix. It requires investment in reliable public services which address deprivation and enable young people to lead fulfilled lives.

Of course, the results of that are never seen in the lifetime of one government so are not vote catchers. 

Michael Day