Communities and Local Government Committee publishes report on regeneration strategy
03 November 2011
Ministers have no adequate strategy to address the complex problems faced by England's most deprived communities. If further resources for regeneration are not found, there is a risk that major problems will be stored up for the future, warn MPs from the Communities and Local Government Committee in a new report.
Comments from the Chair
Launching the report of an inquiry looking closely at the Government's approach to regeneration, Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, said:
"The Government has cut public funding for regeneration programmes dramatically and has produced no adequate 'strategy' for regeneration sufficient to tackle the deep-seated problems faced by our most deprived communities.
The measures identified by the Government focus overwhelmingly on the pursuit of economic growth. The Government's measures will not attract sufficient investment for renewal into those communities where the market has failed. There is no sign that the private sector is filling the gap as public resources are being withdrawn. Indeed private investment is only likely to be attracted in partnership with public funding. Without further investment targeted at those places most in need, Ministers will store up serious social, economic and environmental problems for the future."
Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder
In its latest report the CLG Committee also warns that the cancellation of Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder funding had impacted profoundly upon the lives of people across the North and the Midlands.
"We saw and heard for ourselves what happens when the Government stops investing in regeneration. In Rochdale, we found row upon row of boarded up houses, the direct result of the withdrawal of Housing Market Renewal Funding. We met a family trapped in a half-abandoned street after the promise of a new home was not fulfilled.
We heard similar stories from other Pathfinder areas. People have been left stranded in appalling conditions: many are owner occupiers, often vulnerable people with no other options. The Government must act to help these people and to eradicate the blight that has been left in so many neighbourhoods,"
adds Clive Betts.
National regeneration strategy
The report calls on Government to publish a national regeneration strategy that specifically targets the country's most disadvantaged communities. This should be based upon a detailed understanding of what worked or failed in the past, incorporating lessons from places like Hulme where a successful regeneration scheme has transformed a deprived area into a thriving community.
"The City Challenge initiative, under which much of Hulme's transformation took off, secured investment from both the public and the private sectors, encouraged high levels of community involvement, and concentrated dedicated resources upon a specific area. It addressed a full range of issues, including housing, education, employment and the quality of life.
It was also a long term, five year programme - and in the case of Hulme, regeneration continued well beyond the City Challenge period"
adds Clive Betts.
The committee also calls for:
- Further consideration of how Enterprise Zones could bring benefits to deprived areas, and better use to be made of public land and European funding to ensure they stimulate regeneration.
- Community Budgets -pooling resources from public bodies across a given local area - to be used to generate massive efficiencies and bring in much-need private investment for regeneration
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