Headlines: June 2nd, 1999

IT Minister Michael Wills has launched a programme to promote the use of information and communications technology in some of the poorest neighbourhoods. The programme aims to make people aware that wherever they live, or whether they are rich or poor, technology can help bring prosperity and conquer people’s isolation.

Awareness days are being held in different parts of the country to enable people living in poor neighbourhoods to say what they want from new technology and to find out how best it can be provided. Michael Wills leads the team which is charged with enhancing the access to and uptake of information and communication technology in poor neighbourhoods.

The programme is part of the major urban renewal initiative “Bringing Britain Together” announced by the Prime Minister last September following a study by the Social Exclusion Unit. Local Government Minister Hilary Armstrong oversees the work of eighteen teams set the task of grappling with each of the problems identified in the report, and each team has a lead minister. They will report to the Prime Minister by the end of the year. He will announce the Government’s new strategy early next year, which will set out a twenty-year programme to turn round poor neighbourhoods.