Wales politics

Smarter ways to tackle poverty needed, Carwyn Jones says

Carwyn Jones
Image caption Carwyn Jones said people should be helped according to their need, not geography

Tackling poverty needs a "smarter approach" which is not simply focused on geographical areas, First Minister Carwyn Jones has told AMs.

Earlier this week ministers said they were phasing out their flagship Communities First programme, aimed at boosting the most deprived areas.

On Friday, Mr Jones said the scheme did not help people outside those areas, calling it a "fundamental problem".

He was addressing an assembly committee meeting in Carmarthen.

Fellow Labour AM David Rees, who represents Aberavon, raised concerns that people in constituencies such as his could feel "more abandoned and left out" when the long running anti-poverty scheme ends.

Mr Jones said ministers would strive to ensure the best practices of Communities First would continue.

He said people should get help "according to their needs rather than simply according to where they live".

Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant has said Communities First will receive 70% of its current £30m annual funding until March 2018.

Appearing before the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister, Mr Jones said he was concerned that leaving the EU could damage the poorest areas of Wales.

He said this could be avoided by ensuring what he described as "a sensible Brexit" took place.

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