Headlines: July 19th, 2000

The Spending Review 2000, which will inject large increases in funding across the board, will have a significant effect in breaking down barriers in government. Part of the Review process included 15 cross cutting reviews of problems ranging from Young People at Risk to meeting the challenges of the Knowledge Economy.There is a focus on children and young people. A new Children’s Fund, worth ?200 million in 2003-04, has been set up. It has a strong emphasis on voluntary sector delivery, to ensure that vulnerable young people make the transition safely to adulthood. The Fund will fund services to identify children and young people who are showing early signs of difficulty and provide them and their families with the support they need to get back on track. The aim is to prevent children falling into drug abuse, truancy, exclusion, unemployment and crime, as well as raising aspirations and preventing underachievement.

As a result of the cross-departmental review of Government intervention in deprived areas, central departments will be given explicit targets for improving life in those areas. The aim is to produce less crime, better education, more jobs and improved health to narrow the gap between the poorest areas and the national average. Local Strategic Partnerships will be set up across the country to bring local service providers together with voluntary, community and private sector groups to work together to tackle the problems facing individual neighbourhoods.

There will also be a refocussing of main programmes to ensure that improving life in deprived neighbourhoods is at the centre of their key objectives. Core public services like schools and the police will be equipped to become the main weapons against deprivation. This will require new co-ordinating mechanisms at the local level to enable services to work together more effectively.