Headlines: September 17th, 1998

There has been a flurry of statements from Government departments in the wake of the high profile report from the Social Exclusion Unit, with its three-point plan to improve Britain’s poorest areas.One of the themes of the report was the cross-departmental working that would be required to tackle issues which have so far proved insoluble.

Tessa Jowell, Minister for Health said health improvements would have a key role to play in neighbourhood renewal, and the analysis from the report would be incorporated into the Department of Health’s White Paper Our Healthier Nation, which will be published later this year.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott fleshed out the content of the New Deal for Communities. In total, 800 million pounds will be available, starting with 12 million this year for ‘pathfinder’ projects.

Seventeen areas, already chosen, need to set up a partnership of local people, community and voluntary organisations, public agencies, local authorities and business. They choose a neighbourhood, typically 1,000- 4,000 households, which would benefit from intensive focussed regeneration and will then work up outline proposals for its long term regeneration.

In the first half of next year, if outline proposals are satisfactory, partnerships receive funding to help them produce a detailed plan. Finally, from July 1999, successful partnerships receive offer of funding, for up to ten years, to begin to put plans into effect.

The DTI says it will be supporting the Social Exclusion Unit report, Bringing Britain Together, by leading an action team to improve access to

IT in deprived neighbourhoodsThe report establishes eighteen action teams working in partnership with local communities to tackle the major issues facing deprived neighbourhoods of crime, jobs and the need to widen economic opportunity. The DTI-led team will focus on improving access to communications and information.