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  6. MPs call for a national regeneration strategy

MPs call for a national regeneration strategy

MPs have called on the Government to publish a national regeneration strategy to tackle deprivation in the country’s most disadvantaged communities.

This proposal has come from the Commons Communities and Local Government committee, which questioned whether current policies amounted to a “coherent” strategy. The committee’s report highlighted what the MPs considered should be the key elements.

The all-party committee has called for a definition of regeneration which focuses on market failure and urged the administration to explain what action it will take and the resources it plans to commit.

MPs stressed that the strategy should provide for the "managed wind-down" of the Housing Market Renewal programme and set out moves to mitigate the risk of a skills shortage in regeneration.

The committee has argued that the strategy should include a plan for bringing in private sector investment and set out the contribution that can be made by better use of public land and European funding.

In addition, the all-party committee stressed the need for mechanisms which would enable community groups to play a greater role in regeneration.

The report concluded: “It is crucial that the strategy be based upon a clear understanding of lessons from previous approaches and of the factors that have contributed to successful regeneration. It must also include a clear set of objectives against which its own success can be measured”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government defended its policies.

A DCLG spokesperson said: "Ministers believe that the top-down Housing Market Renewal pathfinders knocked down neighbourhoods in some of the most deprived areas of the country, and left families trapped in abandoned streets.

“That's why the programme was swiftly halted and the balance of power shifted in favour of communities themselves.

"The Government will shortly be announcing additional funding to help those people living in the worst-affected streets, and will continue to liberate councils and residents from central rules so they can make the key decisions over how they would like to improve their own neighbourhoods.”

The full report is available from the Parliament UK website.

 

Roger Milne

10 November 2011