Headlines: September 16th, 1998

The high-profile report from the Social Exclusion Unit in the Cabinet Office puts high priority on joining together the many initiatives set running in the last eighteen months by the new Government.The report “Bringing Britain Together – A National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal” sets out a three point plan of action to improve up to 4000 of the poorest areas of Britain.The first part of the strategy is to draw together new national policies
like the New Deal, action on schoolS, crime and health.The second is the announcement of an extra 800 million pounds which communities themselves will decide how to spend, under a New Deal for Communities. Seventeen pilot projects start this year as models for future investment.

Finally, the Government says it will ‘redesign’ national policies to work for the poorest areas. It says this will mean a massive cross-department effort – and the involvement of outside experts – to tackle the kind of problems affecting the poorest areas that have traditionally fallen between departments. Disaffected young people and anti-social neighbours have been given as examples.

Local Government Minister Hilary Armstrong will oversee the work of eighteen teams set the task of grappling with each of the problems identified in the report, and each will have a lead minister. Interim reports will be made next spring and summer. At the end of next year, a national strategy will be published setting out a twenty-year programme to turn round poor neighbourhoods.