HC Deb 19 July 1996 vol 281 c684W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the application of challenge fund principles to anti-drug efforts. [39103]

Mr. Michael Forsyth

With the strong commitment of the leaders of all the main political parties in Scotland, we now have the ground-breaking and distinctive Scotland against drugs campaign. This reflects concern on all sides about the threat of drug misuse. We must keep on finding innovative ways of dealing with drug misuse—ways that counter its growth and acceptability to young people. I am therefore pleased to announce that I am offering £200,000 in the current financial year, on top of the £1 million already promised to the Scotland against drugs campaign, as a contribution to a new Scottish drugs challenge fund.

Bids will be invited for projects that will help unite local communities and businesses in the fight against drug misuse. This new challenge fund, to be matched by business, will bring partnership with the private sector into local communities that seek to combat drug misuse.

Young as it is, the Scotland against drugs campaign is already attracting a high level of business support. The campaign has much in common with the new challenge fund—partnership, local involvement and ownership, media and business participation, and changing the culture—and they will indeed be linked. I shall consider the best way of doing so, and from the autumn we can expect projects which put this money to good effect.