The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has secretly reduced funding for a scheme to help children escape knife crime, despite a sharp rise in the number of murders and stabbings.

In July, Javid had said that he was doubling the £11m that was allocated to the early intervention youth fund to £22m. This was part of a “public health” approach to combating knife crime and other offences.

While on a recent visit to the West Midlands, however, the policing minister Nick Hurd quietly announced that the funding had been reduced to £17m. Louise Haigh, Labour’s shadow policing minister, described the move as “shameful”.

“Dozens of potentially life-saving projects will now never see the light of day. With knife crime at record levels, ministers must think again,” she said.

The Home Office said: “As well as taking immediate action to curb knife crime, we need a longer-term approach to prevent young people from getting drawn into a life of crime in the first place.

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