§ Mrs. Curtis-Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to reduce health inequalities(a) on Merseyside and (b) in Sefton. 
§ Yvette Cooper
The Merseyside Health Action Zone is already developing and implementing plans to reduce health inequalities across the whole of Merseyside, including Sefton.
Health Action Zones are the main plank of the Government's strategy to reduce health inequalities by targeting resources at areas which have greatest health needs related to poverty and social exclusion. Extra resources are being made available to the Merseyside HAZ partnership to tackle this agenda.
The Merseyside HAZ programme is designed to integrate with other Government initiatives to tackle social exclusion by focusing on marginalised and hard to reach groups. Major themes include employment and Merseyside wide healthy schools initiatives. In its first year the HAZ will fund work to assess the 'Health Impact' of the Merseyside Transport Plan and local Housing Investment Programmes.
During 1999–2000 the HAZ is to make £1.6 million available as a match against European Objective 1 Urban Moneys, supporting regeneration initiatives in some of the most deprived areas of Merseyside.