Organisations fear government funding will not be sufficient
Pathfinders look to EU for £50m lifeline
Housing market renewal pathfinders are seeking to plug a shortfall of at least £50 million with European funds to keep regeneration work on track.
The 10 pathfinders were set up to tackle low housing demand but were last year subject to crippling alterations in their funding arrangements. Their parent councils are now drawing up plans to fund their work using alternative pots of money amid concerns that the money available to them will not be sufficient.
As part of its programme of cuts, the government removed the ring fence from the £236 million housing market renewal fund in October. The money has been subsumed into the regional growth fund, worth £1.4 billion over three years. But pathfinder leaders fear that once bids from other organisations are taken into account, they will not get the £250 million a year needed to finish the 15-year programmes.
The deadline for the first round of bids is 21 January. Mike Gahagan, chair of Transform South Yorkshire, which is closing, said: ‘Some people in the local authority are working on getting money from the RGF, but I think that has already been spent six times over.’
The board at Bridging Newcastle Gateshead has discussed using money from the European Commission’s joint European support for sustainable investment in city areas (JESSICA) with Newcastle Council and is also considering using new borrowing powers under tax increment financing, the new homes bonus and money from a potential new £1 billion Green Investment Bank to fund its work.
Other pathfinders looking for alternative funding sources include Tees Valley Living and Manchester Salford. Richard Elliott, interim director at Manchester Salford, said the pathfinder might benefit from a regeneration fund set up by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities using JESSICA money.