HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 cc980-1W
21. John Robertson

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he has taken to tackle poverty in inner city areas. [27572]

Dawn Primarolo

The Government are committed to tackling poverty and ensuring a just society with opportunity for all.

As a result of personal tax and benefit measures this Government have introduced since 1997, there are now 1.2 million fewer children in poverty than there otherwise would have been, while the poorest third of all pensioners will receive an extra £2.5 billion this year.

The working families tax credit and disabled person's tax credit, along with the first ever national minimum wage, are helping to make work pay, while prudent management of the economy is helping to achieve high levels of employment.

To increase investment in deprived areas, an exemption from stamp duty for all property transfers up to £150,000 became available in the UK's most deprived areas from 30 November 2001

To further stimulate business investment in England the Government have committed £20 million in match funding to a £40 million Community Development Venture Fund. This fund will provide finance for firms operating in disadvantaged areas and the Government hope to see it up and running by the end of this financial year.

The National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, meanwhile, sets out how the Government will go about narrowing the gap between the most deprived areas and the rest. Key to the strategy is harnessing the mainstream resources of Government Departments, but a £900 million Neighbourhood Renewal Fund is also in place to kick start the renewal process in the 88 most deprived local authority areas.

The National Strategy and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund are specific to England.