§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to improve housing conditions in North-east Lancashire; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McNulty
We have selected east Lancashire as one of nine Market Renewal Pathfinders, aiming to provide lasting solutions for communities blighted by low demand housing. Under this initiative east Lancashire has been allocated £2.66 million of pump-prime funding to undertake background analysis and help develop a delivery process and master plan. Substantive funding is being considered as part of the comprehensive spending review specifically to tackle this issue of housing abandonment.
Nationally housing capital resources through the housing investment programme will rise to some £2.6 billion in 2003–04 and east Lancashire should benefit from this increase. Four east Lancashire authorities are receiving from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund some £20 million over the three years to 2004 in addition to other European and domestic funding for regeneration. Housing investment is more effective when used in conjunction with wider regeneration initiatives.