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Urban Programme

Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about ministerial responsibility for urban policies.

The Urban Programme has proved its worth as a valu- able source of support for projects benefiting those living in urban areas of special social need. So long as the programme was innovatory, responsibility appropriately rested with the Home Office. It is now to be greatly expanded and there will be room for measures going beyond specifically social projects.I have, therefore, decided to transfer responsibility for the Urban Programme and associated work from my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment in England and to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales in Wales.The Home Secretary will retain the central responsibility for the Government's race relations policies and for Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966, which provides for grants to be made to local authorities which have within their areas substantial numbers of Commonwealth immigrants. The Voluntary Services Unit will also remain in the Home Office. The interests of the ethnic minorities and the voluntary sector will be fully taken into account in the allocation of resources under the enlarged urban programme.