Friday, 28 August 2009

Local Authorities receive fresh cash injection to tackle extremism

Local authorities will receive a £7.5m funding boost to tackle Al-Qaeda influenced extremism, Communities Secretary John Denham announced today. The new funding will give them greater flexibility to support a broader range of activities to improve the effectiveness of the Prevent programme.

The extra funding backs new cross-Government guidance, also published today, which reflects feedback from local authorities and from Muslim communities. The Prevent programme, which aims to challenge any potential support for, or involvement in, Al-Qaeda type violence, has grown in strength and support over the past year.

The new guidance acknowledges that the effectiveness of the programme can be reduced if the labelling of local activities or their restriction solely to Muslim communities discourages some groups from becoming involved.

This additional funding will allow local authorities to do even more work to bring communities together to condemn violent extremism. It is in addition to existing funding to local authorities to deliver the Prevent strategy.

In recent weeks Ministers have made clear their determination to ensure that all sources of support for violent extremism are tackled consistently and effectively and further announcements will be made over the coming weeks.

Communities Secretary John Denham said:

“At the current time, the greatest terrorist threat remains that from Al-Qaeda linked violent extremism. The Prevent programme is key to our long-term success in tackling this threat.

“Prevent will only be fully effective if we respond to constructive criticisms which have come from local authorities and community organisations actively engaged in resisting violent extremism.

“It encourages local activities to avoid crude labels which discourage wide participation, and to see the promotion of activities which develop and sustain shared values - including understanding and respect for difference - as an important component of Prevent.

“Today's additional funding, and new guidance, supports this work. At the same time, we also need to tackle other potential support for violent extremism; including that from racist and fascist groups and over the coming weeks we will set out further proposals for doing so.”

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