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The Secretary of State for Health (Dr. John Reid): I am announcing today the publication of the Green Paper "Independence, Well-being and Choice: Our Vision for the Future of Social Care for Adults in England" (Cm 6499).
This is an important part of our modernisation programme for public services and will set the social care agenda for the next decade. Formal consultation will enable us to develop firm proposals which will transform the lives of people who use social care by giving them more control and more choice in helping them to decide how their needs can best be met.
These ambitions are based on what people who use services told us they would like to see. Turning this shared vision into reality will mean that social care services will have to be redesigned to give people more control over their assessments and how the money is spent. But this is not just about social care services. We want to see the capacity of the whole community harnessed to make sure that people have access to the full range of universal services to secure the best possible outcomes for all adults.
The key proposals in the paper include the wider use of direct payments and the piloting of individual budgets to stimulate the development of modern services delivered in a way that people want; a strong strategic and leadership role for local government; closer working between health and social care sectors and greater involvement for the community and voluntary sector; plans to stimulate care capacity and informal caring; and encouraging the use of new models
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of service delivery including assistive technology and extra care housing, and a greater focus on preventative services.
The ideas that we have put forward are designed to encourage and stimulate discussion about the future direction for adult social care. We would expect to develop concrete proposals for implementation following the formal consultation.
The consultation will run until 28 July 2005 and will apply to England only. Copies of "Independence, Well-being and Choice" have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are also available from my Department's website at: www.dh.gov.uk/socialcare
The Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn): I am today placing in the Libraries of both Houses copies of a new paper entitled "Fighting poverty to build a safer world: a strategy for security and development", published by the Department for International Development (DFID).
The strategywhich has been produced in close consultation with other Government Departments, NGOs, researchers, the UN and other international organisationsanalyses the links between security and development. It shows how we can better promote the security of the poor, and suggests ways in which the international system can better achieve both security and development goals.
Security matters for poor people in poor countries. In times of peace, they are the worst affected by violent crime, lawlessness and state-sanctioned abuse; and in times of conflict, millions of poor people have been killed, injured or forced from their homes. So the poor need security as much as they need clean water, schooling or affordable health.
DFID has been at the forefront of international efforts to promote security for poor people. We have initiated programmes to support police and security sector reform in developing countries, in order to make these public services more effective and accountable; we have improved access to justice for poor people; we have tackled poor governance; and we have developed ways of analysing conflict and insecurity, including their impact on the poor. But we need to do more. Our aim is to promote security as a basic entitlement of poor people.
The strategy explains how we will put the safety and security of the poor at the heart of our development work. We will make more use of political and conflict analysis in our programme design; pay greater attention to how regional and global conflict and insecurity affect the poor in countries where we work; focus our work to improve governance more directly on the security of the poor, including giving more attention to the role of security and police services and the judiciary; link conflict prevention and conflict reduction more regularly into our programmes; and work with a wider range of civil society organisations, so as to build relationships with groups with different views on development.
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To implement the strategy, we will work closely with other Government Departments, international organisations including the European Union and the United Nations, and Governments and communities in our partner countries.
The Government's vision for the future of Northern Ireland is that of a peaceful, prosperous, stable and fair society firmly founded on the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance and mutual trust and the protection and vindication of human rights for all. The founding principles of partnership, equality and mutual respect ensure a basis for good relationships.
The publication of the policy today sets out our aim of establishing over time a shared society defined by a culture of tolerancea normal, civic society, in which all individuals are considered as equals, which respects diversity and where violence is an illegitimate means to resolve differences, but where differences are resolved through dialogue in the public sphere. The policy document outlines realistically the scale of the challenge and that good relations will build on the significant progress of the equality agenda.
The policy objectives to achieve the policy aim include: eliminating sectarianism, racism and all forms of prejudice to enable people to live and work without fear or intimidation; reducing tension and conflict at interface areas; facilitating the development of a shared community where people wish to learn, live, work and play together; promoting civic-mindedness via citizenship education through school and lifelong learning; protecting members of minorities (whether for example by religion, race or any other grounds) and mixed marriages from intimidation and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice; ensure that all public services are delivered impartially and guided by economy, efficiency and effectiveness; shaping policies, practices and institutions to enable trust and good relations to grow; encouraging understanding of the complexity of our history, through museums and a common school curriculum; supporting cultural projects which highlight the complexity and overlapping nature of identities and their wider global connections; supporting and learning from organisations working across ethnic divides for reconciliation, including those operating on a north-south basis; ensuring that voice is given to the diverse victims of violence in Northern Ireland, including via archives and victim-centred reconciliation events; encouraging communication, tolerance and trust across Northern Ireland, but particularly in areas where communities are living apart; promoting dialogue between, and mutual understanding of, different faiths and cultural backgrounds, both long-standing within Northern Ireland and recent arrivals to these shores, guided by overarching human-rights norms.
The policy, which is underpinned by a series of fundamental principles, will be taken forward at three levels. First, a triennial action plan covering actions
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across public authorities will be prepared by the autumn. Second, the roles and functions of the Community Relations Council will be enhanced to support the policy. Third, a new district council good relations challenge programme will be established by 2007 to replace the existing district council community relations' programme
Government will lead by example and set the pace to promote good relations with a strong public policy agenda. Ultimately, however, sustained and deeper progress depends on political stability. It will require leadership at political, civic and community levels.
Copies of "A Shared Future: Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland" have been placed in the Libraries of the House and are also available on the website www.asharedfutureni.gov.uk/
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