HC Deb 18 December 2002 vol 396 cc832-3
9. Mr. Tom Clarke (Coatbridge and Chryston)

When he intends to visit Coatbridge and Chryston constituency to discuss social exclusion. [86327]

The Minister for Social Exclusion and Deputy Minister for Women (Mrs. Barbara Roche)

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has no current plans to visit the constituency of Coatbridge and Chryston. However, the Government maintain regular contact with the devolved Administrations on issues relating to social exclusion through forums such as the joint ministerial committee on poverty, which I attended in September.

Mr. Clarke

I am sorry that my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to come to my constituency in the immediate future—he does not know what he is missing. Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to the credit unions, particularly in Kirkwood and Muirhead, which, despite a huge reduction in unemployment, are helping to make life easier for a substantial number of my constituents?

Mrs. Roche

I am very happy to do that, as I know what an interest my right hon. Friend takes in such measures. I believe, as has already been mentioned, that credit unions are incredibly valuable. They can give people real independence. If, by encouraging credit unions, we tackle seriously the problem of financial exclusion that blights many of our communities, we shall be doing all our communities a great service.