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Ministerial Responsibilities

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what responsibility she has for (a) communities, (b) civic renewal and (c) the Respect agenda. (78296)

As the Minister for dealing with social exclusion in the Cabinet Office, I have a strategic role in overseeing Government activity and supporting other Departments across all these areas. This is in the context of tackling persistent social exclusion and delivering social justice, which is an over-arching challenge facing Government and cuts across the boundaries of any individual Department.

I am chairing a new Cabinet Committee on Social Exclusion and will be supported by a new Social Exclusion Task Force in the Cabinet Office. Under these auspices the Government will publish an action plan in the autumn setting out policies to reach the most excluded people in society, which will be driven forward by the Task Force.

The Task Force will support the work of the Home Office Respect Unit in delivering the cross-Government Respect agenda, and will complement the leading role of the Department for Communities and Local Government in delivering policies around civil renewal and community cohesion.

A new Office of the Third Sector is being set up in the Cabinet Office, led by, the Parliamentary Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, North (Edward Miliband), reporting to me. This draws together different parts of Whitehall that deal with voluntary and community sector organisations and social enterprises, strengthening the Government's approach to the sector.