MPs call for national regeneration strategy
A group of MPs has warned the government that it has no strategy for regenerating England’s most deprived communities.
In a report published today, the communities and local government select committee accused ministers of having no adequate plan for England’s poorest areas.
Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East and chair of the committee, said without more public funding for deprived areas, ministers were storing up problems for the future.
‘The government’s measures will not attract sufficient investment for renewal into those communities where the market has failed,’ he added. ‘There is no sign that the private sector is filling the gap as public resources are being withdrawn.’
The report said the cancelling of £2.25 billion housing market renewal pathfinder programme funding in October 2010 had ‘impacted profoundly’ on the lives of people in the north and the midlands. The programme was set up to kick-start the housing market in deprived areas.
The report called for the government to publish a national regeneration strategy to target the country’s most disadvantaged communities.
Mike Gahagan, chair of the now defunct Transform South Yorkshire pathfinder, said: ‘The select committee has hit the nail on the head when it states that government must provide for the managed wind down of the pathfinder programme.’
The news came as deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced the winning second round bids for the £1.4 billion regional growth fund.
Only one landlord will benefit from the fund. Keepmoat Homes, which secured around £6.5 million, will build homes in Liverpool and Sefton but refused to say how many.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said this would be the only housing scheme funded through round two bids.
Housing minister Grant Shapps had initially promised that the RGF would replace funding for housing market renewal areas, but Lord Heseltine, who administers the fund, told a select committee in June that the RGF would only be used to create jobs and stimulate the economy.