Headlines: June 15th, 1999

A task force of Ministers, led by the Minister for Public Health, will co-ordinate action across Whitehall departments, the health service and local government to cut teenage pregnancy. The target is to cut pregnancies by half by 2010. The task force will be supported by an implementation unit in the Department of Health. There will also be a National Advisory Group to advise Government and monitor the success of the strategy.

Local councils and health authorities will work together in preventing pregnancy and in supporting pregnant and parenting teenagers, setting local benchmarks for progress. Areas with high rates will be eligible for resources from a local implementation fund of 26 million pounds.

The strategy results from an investigation by the Social Exclusion Unit in the Cabinet Office. The UK has the highest rate of teenage births in Western Europe. Teenage parenthood is a problem that affects every part of the country, but it is far worse in the poorest areas and among the most vulnerable young people whose expectations and aspirations are low.