£80m jobs and poverty fund agreed
An £80 million Social Investment Fund to reduce poverty and unemployment has been agreed by the Executive.
The fund aims to enhance economic growth, employability and the sustainability of communities.
First Minister Peter Robinson said: "Despite the significant progress made in the last number of years towards prosperity, stability and peace there remains sections of the community that have not fully benefited from these changes.
"Given the current economic and fiscal situation there is a real risk that deprivation will continue, and may increase unless interventions are put in place.
"The Social Investment Fund will redress this imbalance by building pathways to employment, ending dereliction, increasing community services and tackling the systemic issues linked to deprivation.
"Tackling these issues will require interventions of significant scale to be delivered in partnership with communities on a cross departmental basis. The fund will reduce poverty, unemployment and physical deterioration."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the most immediate and effective way out of deprivation is through quality employment.
"However, there are substantial structural, historic, geographical and social barriers to employment and full participation in the economy for deprived communities," he added.