Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Wednesday, 29 September 2010 14:37 UK

Social justice questions

The Social Justice and Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant answered a number of questions on the Communities First programme on 29 September 2010.

The programme, launched in 2001 by the first assembly government to support Wales' poorest societies through local action, received the minister's full support.

Despite problems in the past with specific programmes , the minister underlined that the programme continued to improve and deliver for the people it serves.

Mr Sargeant also indicated that he would be working to extend the programme beyond its 2012 expiry date.

The Liberal Democrats asked about the work the assembly government is doing to help Welsh businesses pay their business rates.

Carl Sargeant said that a 12-month rate relief scheme that would see a significant or complete reduction in business rates for many Welsh businesses would be introduced on 1 October 2010.

The Conservatives asked the minister to extend this scheme beyond the intended timeframe, but the minister said that financial constraints meant that this would not be feasible.

The minister was also praised the work of credit unions, which he said offered a safe alternative stream of funding for Welsh people.

He said that improving their governance and performance was a priority for his department.

Read this in Welsh.

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