twin track strategy for delivering social justice: tackling low
incomes and improving public services.
on both incomes and services the government is adopting 'progressive
universalism' - raising standards for all, but providing more for
those who need it most.
Mr Prescott said that ensuring everybody has access to high quality
public services is the best way to lift those who find themselves at
the bottom of the ladder into the mainstream.
Mr Prescott said:
'We must seek to ensure that everybody can get to the starting line,
regardless of their status, but at the same time always strive to
move that starting line forward.
'Often the poorest services are in areas where people need them the
most. We have introduced floor targets, or minimum standards for
every area in the country and that means providing better schools,
improved health care, safer streets and better housing for those who
live in deprived communities.
'We have taken many important steps to address the issue of poverty
caused by low income by providing more help for those who need it
most. But social exclusion is not just about income it is also about
the public services that people need and use on a daily basis.'
Mr Prescott said his aim was to make sure the extra£43bn that
has been invested in public services does more to help communities
with the majority of problems and struggling public services. For
this to work social inclusion must be at the core of every
Mr Prescott added,
'Real change is about making mainstream services work for everyone -
even the hardest to reach. Departments must work together to provide
accessible services that meet everyone's needs. This is an approach
that is beginning to work. Standards in schools for example, are
rising fastest in some of the poorest areas in the country.
'Departments cannot ignore social exclusion anymore - it is part of
their everyday work. It is the day to day business of every secretary
Mr Prescott pointed out that this approach is beginning to yield
results: with more than 300,000 young people finding work through the
New Deal; rough sleeping down by two-thirds; teenage pregnancy
falling; and the rates of teenage parents in education or training
He also outlined how the work of the Social Exclusion Unit over the
last four years has contributed to a fundamental change in the way
government has approached the issues of social exclusion.