HC Deb 05 July 2001 vol 371 c314W
Mr. George Howarth

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proposals he has for co-ordinating Government and EU programmes in areas of high social and economic deprivation to maximise the impact such programmes have on building up social capital, economic activity, environmental improvement and public safety; and if he will make a statement. [2122]

Ms Keeble

I have been asked to reply.

'A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal National Strategy Action Plan' was launched by the Prime Minister in January 2001. It sets out the Government's vision to narrow the gap between deprived areas and the rest of England, so that within 10–20 years no one should be seriously disadvantaged by where they live. Our aim is to deliver economic prosperity, safe communities, high quality schools, decent housing, and better health to the poorest parts of the country.

This approach will focus main Government programmes explicitly on deprived areas and will require all sectors to work in partnership. The strategy is being spearheaded by the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, a cross-cutting unit based in DTLR and staffed by officials from across Whitehall and the public sector, with secondees from the private and voluntary sectors.

In respect of European Programmes, we are looking to the Regional Development Agencies. They have the main responsibility for regional economic development, and are key members of partnerships which deliver both domestic and European Funds to the programme areas. We are keeping the RDA role under review as the European programmes develop.