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INVESTMENT 'KEY TO REGENERATION OF LOCAL AUTHORITY HOUSING'

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Private investment in the regeneration of council housing areas will help to create greater choice, a greater socia...
Private investment in the regeneration of council housing areas will help to create greater choice, a greater social mix and more stable communities - as well as helping to stretch the work done by every pound from the public purse, Environment Minister Lord Arran said today.

At the same time, he announced the launch of a consultation paper on the Single Regeneration Budget bidding guidance. The budget will be an important source of support for housing and other regeneration initiatives.

Speaking at an Estate Action Conference in Sheffield, Lord Arran said: 'There is an overwhelming case for bringing private investment into council housing. We cannot expect to meet all the investment needs of the large council housing stock, its replacement and improvement, through the public purse. Private sources of finance can help create more stable communities in which there is a greater choice of tenure and of landlord.

'Estate Action has acted as a catalyst, bringing in the resources, skills and ideas of housing associations and private developers. New Estate Action schemes starting in 1992-93 alone were expected to attract some £360 million of additional resources through partnerships with associations and developers.

'Estate Action has helped to set a new agenda for council housing through the alliance of physical improvements with better management; social and economic development; tenant involvement and the twin subjects of today's conference - bringing in private sector resources and diversifying tenure.'

From April 1994 the Estate Action programme becomes part of the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB). Lord Arran said:

'We see the Single Budget as an unprecedented opportunity to respond to local needs and priorities. We do not want to dictate from the centre the shape of local bids or the form of local partnerships.

'We will consult widely, including local authorities, TECS and other organisations interested in the budget. We are very keen to get the views of those who make regeneration work on the ground. We want to see experience with Estate Action and other successful initiatives reflected in the operation of the budget.

'The Government will seek bids reflecting local priorities which take a broad and imaginative view of the regeneration needs of particular areas and neighbourhoods.

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