WE unequivocally welcome Labour’s promise to launch a £100m youth programme to tackle knife crime, should it win the election.

For the last year and more, we have been highlighting exactly how knife crime is an epidemic that is now blighting the lives of too many young people in this country – that is the victims who lose their lives as well as the offenders whose families find their lives torn apart.

We have been arguing that we cannot stand idly by, and Labour appears to have picked up on that by creating an interventionist Young Futures programme of mentors who are not placed in ivory towers but are out in the community, in A&E or custody units, where this crime becomes clear.

“If you carry a knife, you’ll carry the consequences,” says leader Keir Starmer, and this is the message that has to be hammered home to our young people. If they’re carrying a knife, perhaps just for bravado, there will be real consequences because you can so easily lose control of the situation in a deadly manner.

This chimes with hugely emotional interviews we have seen this week on television with the family of Grace O’Malley-Kumar who, aged 19, was stabbed to death in Nottingham. Why, asked her mother, is there no mandatory prison term for carrying a knife in public? That would send a message that society says this is so dangerous an act that it is beyond the pale.

The Northern Echo has attempted to engage with politicians across the spectrum in our bid to see change, so we are delighted that Labour has moved to meet us. That doesn’t mean we will be uncritical of the party’s policy – we note, for instance, that the £100m is coming from the VAT which is to be imposed on public schools. That seems to be a source of income that is going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting should Labour come to power, even if it is lifting our priorities in the right direction.