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UK's Blair steps up drive against abusive behaviour

Written by: Staff

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) Local authorities that fail to tackle anti-social behaviour will be deprived of government funding from April 2007, Prime Minister Tony Blair will say today as he spearheads a drive to crack down on thugs.

Blair -- who has put the so-called Respect agenda on confronting anti-social behaviour high on his government's third term priority list -- will say progress has been made.

But some local communities have failed to implement measures to protect the public from abuse. Those measures include on-the-spot fines and powers to silence nuisance neighbours.

''Despite the progress which many councils have made there is still a postcode lottery where some local authorities do not have comprehensive plans in place,'' Blair's spokesman said ahead of an event today to highlight the Respect agenda.

''From next April funding from Whitehall for local authorities will be dependent on them implementing detailed plans to tackle anti-social behaviour.'' Blair will chair a meeting of cabinet ministers, front line workers and local government officials to gauge progress since the Respect action plan was launched in January and identify where more work needs to be done.

From April, it will be mandatory for every local council to have a formal plan in place to tackle yobbish behaviour that will include targets to meet in terms of public perceptions of anti-social behaviour.

The meeting will also assess the progress of parenting orders -- designed to tackle truancy -- and measures to improve the behaviour of unruly neighbours.

''The prime minister and his cabinet colleagues will do all that is necessary to ensure that every local community has plans in place to deal with yobs who cause misery and spread fear,'' Blair's spokesman said.

The government launched its Respect action plan in January this year.

Reuters PDS VP0415

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