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Only new money will make Neighbourhood Renewal scheme a success

29 July, 2004

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Social Development, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has called on British direct rule Minister John Spellar to explain how socially deprived areas will be better off with the introduction of the Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme if there is no new money available.

Mr McCann said:

"After months of consultation, discussions and meetings, one thing that was evident is that there will be no new money available to deal with socially deprived areas that have suffered decades of neglect. Without a significant injection of new additional money all that is being proposed is a reallocation of existing resources or something akin to the rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

"The reality may be that without new money that groups from the community and voluntary sector that have done so much to meet the needs of an area are forced to close under the new scheme. John Spellar, who I will be seeking urgent assurances from, needs to explain how the loss of such groups can possibly benefit these areas.

"John Spellar needs to recognise that socially deprived communities are entitled to more resources. The failure to commit to extra resources for these communities highlights the failure of direct rule Ministers and others within the NIO to get to grips with the Equality Agenda and the absolute requirement for change within our society." ENDS

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