24 February 2016

(S4O-05576) Cashback for Communities (North East Scotland)

3. Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what impact the cashback for communities programme is having in North East Scotland. (S4O-05576)

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Michael Matheson): We are rightly proud of our unique cashback for communities programme and have published information by local authority area on the cashback website. It demonstrates that, up to the end of March 2015, young people from North East Scotland, which covers the local authority areas of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee city and part of Moray, have directly benefited from nearly £5.5 million of cashback investment that has delivered more than 250,000 activities and opportunities for young people in the area.

Stewart Stevenson: I very much welcome the £5.5 million that has been recycled from the pockets of criminals for the benefit of the public good in North East Scotland, as has happened elsewhere in Scotland. What criteria might the cabinet secretary wish to see used for the future selection of cashback projects?

Michael Matheson: Our approach in the past three phases of allocating cashback money has been to work with the 14 partner organisations that are responsible for projects across the country. They range from sporting organisations to cultural organisations and youth groups and they focus on areas that are deprived and where there are disadvantaged young people.

We are coming towards the end of phase 3 of the programme, which goes up to March 2017, and I am considering the arrangements for phase 4. I want to ensure that it is targeted more on deprived areas, that it focuses on assisting us to reduce inequalities in our communities and that, in doing so, it maximises the benefit for communities. There is no doubt that the programme has been an extremely successful way to take money from criminals and put it back into our communities. We intend to build on the important work that we have achieved in recent years with the programme.

Stewart Stevenson
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