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CLG Committee slams regeneration strategy

Government has failed to produce a new regeneration strategy after forcing through massive budget cuts, according to a damning report published by an influential select committee.

The Communities and Local Government Committee report warns ministers are risking long term problems in some of the country’s most deprived areas if they fail to develop a coherent strategy.

Committee chair Clive Betts MP said:  “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“There is no sign that the private sector is filling the gap as public resources are being withdrawn.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.”

The committee warned the cancellation of Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder had hit people in the North and Midlands particularly hard.

Mr Betts said the committee’s evidence gathering had thrown up examples of entire communities of boarded up houses which were the direct result of the withdrawal of HMR funding.

“In Rochdale… we met a family trapped in a half-abandoned street after the promise of a new home was not fulfilled,” he said.

“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,” he added.

The committee is now calling on government to publish a national regeneration strategy to target the country’s most disadvantaged communities.

The committee also called 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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