HC Deb 15 July 2003 vol 409 cc299-300W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps the Government has taken to regenerate the UK's towns and cities. [124199]

Yvette Cooper

The Government's policies for delivering an urban renaissance were set out in the Urban White Paper "Our Towns and our Cities: the Future" published in November 2000. This provides the framework within which Government policies and programmes affecting urban areas in England are co-ordinated.

In February 2003, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister launched "Sustainable Communities: building for the future"—a £22 billion action programme to improve housing and communities, including over £5 billion to regenerate deprived areas. This programme builds on the policies and actions in the Urban White Paper and the Rural White Paper "Our Countryside: the future."

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has established a £2 billion Single Regeneration Budget to provide resources to support regeneration activity carried out by local regeneration partnerships. Managed at regional level by the RDAs, this programme promotes sustainable economic growth, enterprise and major regeneration projects in nine English regions (including London), with a focus on urban areas. 14 Urban Regeneration Companies have been set up to regenerate some of the most neglected areas in our towns and cities.

English Partnerships (EP) are involved in wide range of regeneration and development projects across the country. EP is focusing on identifying and delivering more brownfield land for housing and sustainable urban development. Already an initial list of 42 sites have been announced for EP to concentrate on.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also investing over £4 billion through the Neighbourhood Renewal National Strategy Action Plan to tackle deprivation, and extend prosperity and opportunity to the poorest neighbourhoods in the country. This money is used to encourage the better targeting of services and mainstream public funds to the most deprived areas and to provide evidence of best practice through pathfinder programmes.