HC Deb 06 February 2002 vol 379 c851
8. Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale, East)

When he last met representatives of UK poverty organisations. [30893]

The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State (Mr. John Prescott)

On 23 January I met the all-party parliamentary group on poverty. The meeting was attended by, among others, the Poverty Alliance, ATD—Altogether towards Dignity—Fourth World, and the UK Coalition against Poverty. I also gave a keynote speech on 15 January at the Fabian society conference, which was attended by 200 organisations associated with poverty relief. I maintain regular contact with the groups in London and on my visits to other areas of the United Kingdom.

Paul Goggins

The Government have done a great deal to tackle the problem of low income, including the introduction of the minimum income guarantee for pensioners, the minimum wage and the working families tax credit. Does my right hon. Friend agree that poverty is not just about money? It is also about power. What steps is he taking to ensure that people with direct experience of poverty can have a bigger say in the development of Government policy?

The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State

That important point was made by the all-party parliamentary group, the representatives of which come from all parts of the House. The group has made it clear that people who suffer from poverty should be actively involved in advising and in decision making here in the House. That is absolutely right. We have commissioned a report to see how we can improve on that process. Those people want a say in the programmes that we are bringing in to relieve the poverty that they are suffering.