§ 22. Paul Goggins
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what action he is taking to reduce poverty in the north-west. 1073W
§ Mrs. Roche
In the north-west, around 230,000 people have gained from the national minimum wage; the working families tax credit makes work pay for nearly 180,000 families. The minimum income guarantee ensures single pensioners will receive £100 a week by 2003 and more than 1.4 million pensioners have seen the biggest rise in basic state pension for a generation.
Following the Social Exclusion Unit's reports, local partnerships are harnessing the power of all the sectors to tackle the problems of deprived neighbourhoods supported by new minimum standards for mainstream services.
The Government Offices for the Regions administer programmes to tackle deprivation and poverty. For example, the north-west receives £243 million through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.
§ 23. Linda Gilroy
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the role of his Department is in tackling urban poverty. 
§ Mrs. Roche
The National Strategy for neighbourhood renewal action plan was published by the Social Exclusion Unit in 2001. Its goal is to ensure that no one is seriously disadvantaged by where they live within 10–20 years and to narrow the gap between the most deprived neighbourhoods and the rest. Many of the most deprived neighbourhoods are in urban areas.
The strategy addresses the wider causes of poverty and social exclusion with targets to improve employment levels, educational attainment, health and housing and to reduce crime in the most deprived neighbourhoods. This is backed up by substantial investment. The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, based in Department for Transport Local Government and the Regions, is responsible for taking this forward. The Government Offices for the Regions work with the NRU and other Departments to administer specific programmes like the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.
The SEU continues to work with all Government departments to ensure that social exclusion issues are addressed.