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Comprehensive Community Programmes

Volume 931: debated on Saturday 5 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the cost of each comprehensive community programme in England, Scotland and Wales.

Comprehensive community programmes are being developed in Gateshead and Motherwell at an estimated cost of£35,000 and£50,000 respectively, over the period 1976–78.

Does the Minister recall that his Department aimed at dealing with these urban problems within five years? After three years of neglect and, by a remarkable coincidence, just before the local elections, does he really think that he can resolve the problem in two years?

Of course not. I do not believe that the period 1976–78 will provide the solution. I am saying that the establishment of comprehensive community programmes in the two areas will teach us a great deal more about deprivation in those areas than we know at the moment. The hon. Gentleman, above all, should realise that these problems are much more complex than anyone in the House understood to be the case 10 years ago.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what aspects of urban deprivation the comprehensive community programmes will principally seek to alleviate.

The complex problems of urban deprivation are combined in different ways in different parts of the country. Comprehensive community programmes are intended to provide a flexible but comprehensive approach to tackling the problems that characterise urban deprivation in a particular local authority area.

I am slightly mystified by that specific answer from the Minister. May I ask how he can tie that in with the Home Office Press notice of three years ago, which said that these problems would be dealt with within five years by such a programme?

I do not know the Press notice to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but if he finds nonsensical the statement that there are different combinations of deprivation in different areas I can only say that he does not understand the problem and that he ought to study it before asking questions on it.

Will the Minister be kind enough to spell out whether the programme in Gateshead and the other place will specify the problems, or actually deal with them? Does there not seem to be confusion in the Home Office which was not there when the Press notice went out on 18th July 1974?

There are three stages in dealing with this matter—first, to establish an index of the particular types and combinations of deprivation which exist in the particular area; secondly, to devise methods for dealing with them; thirdly, to draw up a programme which includes not only the local authorities but the local government departments for that area, with a view to tackling the problem.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the answers to the last two Questions, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.