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Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to tackle poverty in Northern Ireland through the community planning process; and if he will make a statement. (107688)

Under forthcoming legislation, local councils will be required to initiate, facilitate and maintain a Community Planning process, leading to the production of a Community plan. In turn, all other public bodies will be required to participate in, and help deliver, Community Planning.

The process of community planning leading to the production of a Community Plan has the potential to identify issues such as poverty, social inclusion and disadvantaged communities as priorities within the new council areas leading to the development of actions aimed at addressing them in a focused, joined-up and coordinated way. Any such actions should be taken forward in line with the aims and objects of Government’s Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy.