Mixed welcome for social exclusion minister post

Indira Das-Gupta

The voluntary sector has cautiously welcomed the decision to create the post of social exclusion minister.

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the new cabinet role last week ahead of an expected reshuffle.

Hazel Blears, Home Office minister, and David Miliband, communities minister, have both been tipped for the job.

Shelter argued that, for the appointment to make a difference, the Government would have to build 60,000 extra rented homes in England by 2011. The charity also wants the new minister to address the issue of the one million children forced to live in emergency, unfit or crowded homes.

A spokeswoman said: "Bad housing traps families and children in a lifelong cycle of poverty. We will be lobbying the new minister to ensure that housing is considered a key component of the social exclusion agenda."

The Child Poverty Action Group agreed that time would tell if the post would bring about lasting change.

A spokesman said: "We look forward to working with the new minister, but they must be given the resources to deliver real improvements for the poorest people in our society."

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