Sustainable Communities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 5th February 2003.

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Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 12:31 pm, 5th February 2003

I agree with my hon. Friend. Having visited his constituency, I was left with a powerful impression of the way in which such problem areas scar the whole community and give rise to economic and political problems. That is why we designed the pathfinder programmes. As he knows, we have already advanced £10 million in order to begin the preparations. We want to give comfort to those communities, but these things take time. He is right—we cannot solve all the problems in three years. We are making a start with £500 million for the three-year programme, which will concentrate attention. The problems in the areas in the north that he mentions are entirely different from those in the south-east, which is why we have had to design a separate programme. We hope to learn a great deal from it and to expand it, but it certainly will not be limited to three years.