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Gov’t tells towns how to deal with excluded localities

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Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – The Czech government has prepared instructions for towns and villages on how to deal with problems in socially excluded localities and what instruments they can use in doing so, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said yesterday.
Sobotka and Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) said after a meeting with the mayors concerned the instructions apply to education, employment, social services and crime prevention.
He said the instructions will “provide the mayors with a review of subsidy programmes.”
The instructions were prepared by the education, labour, local development, interior and human rights ministries.
The Government Agency for Social Inclusion is preparing a project in which around 70 towns are to participate.
Dienstbier said they could gain up to ten billion crowns from EU funds for their projects. Further money may flow to the towns that will choose their own solution, without cooperation with the agency.
Sobotka said he spoke with the mayors about the establishment of a new subsidy programme from which town halls could gain money for pulling down derelict houses.
Towns are to have a total of 100 million crowns at their disposal for this purpose, Dienstbier’s spokeswoman Jarmila Balazova said.
She said towns should gain the subsidy also if they replace the dilapidated houses with something useful, such as children’s playgrounds, children’s centres etc.
Sobotka said a bill on social housing is to be drafted by mid-2016 and a new bill on the rules of social business is also being prepared.
The bill on social housing was originally scheduled to take effect as from January 2017. “We would be glad if it were passed by the end of the election period. The government wants to follow the project to the end,” Sobotka said.
The state will have to earmark the necessary money for social housing, he added.
Within the planned bill on the rules of social business, the state is to start financing the assistants to teachers, who have been paid by the respective self-rule regions so far.
An analysis for the Labour Ministry showed that the number of underprivileged houses, streets and neighbourhoods is rising in the country. Its total has doubled to more than 600 since 2006.
They are inhabited by some 115,000 people, compared with 80,000 nine years ago.
The analysis authors describe an excluded locality as a place where at least 20 people in need live. They depend on welfare benefits, are unemployed, have debts, a low education and other problems.
Such ghettos are in 297 villages and towns.
According to the analysis, it is mainly town halls and real estate owners who are responsible for the emergence of more than one third of excluded places in the country.
The ghettos were created by the controlled moving of people from other neighbourhoods or parts of a municipality to a certain place.
($1=23.834 crowns)

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