Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Tuesday, 5 July 2011 16:07 UK

Statement on Communities First

Minister for Local Government and Communities announced plans for major changes to the government's Communities First programme on 5 July 2011.

The aim of the programme, launched in 2001, is to involve local people in the work of regenerating the most deprived communities in Wales.

Outlining his plans, Carl Sargeant AM reassured AMs that the programme will keep its community focus, although there will be a much stronger emphasis on tackling poverty and contributing to the Welsh Government's wider anti-poverty agenda from April 2012.

Under the new arrangements there will also be fewer Communities First areas which will now work together as large "clusters" with "soft boundaries".

Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM raised concerns that the local contact and invaluable local knowledge, which has secured the success of the programme to date, could be lost by creating larger areas.

Speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, Peter Black AM welcomed the attempts to restructure and better focus Communities First whilst stressing the importance of ownership for local authorities and including them from the decision making stage.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar requested clarity on the new "soft boundaries" for the clusters which the minister explained would be a matter for the local area.

AMs also approved the motion to approve the Right of a Child to Make a Disability Discrimination Claim (Schools) (Wales) Order 2011.

Read this in Welsh.

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