'Britain has enjoyed a strong economy and growing prosperity in recent years, but we would be more prosperous still if the talents of each and every member of the community could flourish. Social exclusion and wasted human potential are harmful to the country as well as to those individuals suffering from them.

In our increasingly changing world, demand for unskilled labour is falling, and demand for skilled labour is rising. Therefore the plight of those without skills and qualifications will become more acute. The Social Exclusion Action Plan will help to ensure that opportunity is enjoyed by the whole community and that no group is left behind.'