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Moss Side Task Force

Volume 114: debated on Tuesday 7 April 1987

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asked the Paymaster General (1) if he will make a statement on the progress made by his Department in the Moss Side task force area;(2) if he will give details of actions taken by the Moss Side task force since it was established;(3) if he will give details of the budget allocated to the Moss Side task force during 1986–87; how much will be spent by 31 March and on what projects; and what will happen to any unspent funds after 31 March;(4) if he will give details of the budget to be allocated to the Moss Side task force during 1987–88;(5) if he will give details of the Moss Side task force's relationship with the local community, including the extent to which their views are taken into account and influence decisions on how the task force's budget is allocated.

[pursuant to his reply, 27 March 1987, c. 294–95]: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his earlier questions on 28 November 1986 at columns 391–92, in which I made a full statement on the activities and progress of the Moss Side and Hulme task force. Since that time, the task force has continued to make useful progress in developing initiatives centred on employment, enterprise and training.I regard the close involvement of the local residents in the work of the task force as extremely important and it is focused through a steering group of local residents and workers, and councillors. The task force ensures that this group is aware of all projects and project ideas. The group discusses each funding proposal before any submission is put to me and I pay strong regard to its views.No set budget has been allocated to the Moss Side and Hulme task force or any other inner city task force. Task force projects are financed out of the budgets of Government and Manpower Services Commission topped up as necessary out of the central project fund, of the inner cities initiative. Central unit funds are subject to the normal Treasury rules. on annuality, in common with the rest of my Department.During 1986–87, it is anticipated that projects sponsored by the task force will spend more than £747,000 in public funds including about £200,000 from the task force top-up funds. These projects include support for

(a) positive action for training in housing (PATH), a 12-month training scheme aimed at increasing employment opportunities for black people in housing associations; (b) Prince's Youth Business Trust, which supports business start-up by young people; (c) Selcare trust, a community programme engineering workshop; (d) the Northern Black Business Association.

For 1987–88 the task force is currently working up and progressing those initiatives mentioned in my reply of 28 November, including the establishment of managed workshops in association with a large private sector company; and a number of more recent proposals. Discussions are continuing with a wide range of local organisations, including the university of Manchester and the chamber of commerce and with private sector employers in the area about ways in which employers and others can help the task force to meet its objectives. A number of initiatives are being jointly pursued, including the possibilities of local procurement, training and land development.