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MINISTER UNDERLINES GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO REGENERATION IN THE ENGLISH REGIONS

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In her first speech as minister for local government and the regions, ...
In her first speech as minister for local government and the regions,

Hilary Armstrong today released figures showing the government's

commitment to the English regions, with£4,851m invested in

regeneration since May 1997.

Speaking at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London, she

said:

'Our commitment to regenerating the English regions is clear and

unequivocal. We have put£4,851m into regenerating urban and

rural neighbourhoods, their infrastructure and the opportunities for

their residents.

'Our programmes aim to deliver more sustainable economic growth

across the whole country, and address economic imbalances which

hamper the development of the English regions.

'It is vital that our initiatives complement and collaborate with one

another; that they are seen as part of a national framework for

regeneration, rather than as a piecemeal set of projects. The

effectiveness of regeneration must be measured by real outcomes - not

just tickbox outputs.

'I want to know if individual government initiatives are being

diminished by departmentalism; if regeneration is being held back by

red-tape; or if agencies with responsibility for regeneration are

failing to deliver on the ground.'

Commenting on the new regional development agencies, she said:

'Regional development agencies have a vital role to play in

co-ordinating the response of the public sector in the regions to the

needs of the enterprise economy.

'They are an excellent example of the government's commitment to

joined-up working, providing a single gateway for regional economic

development and regeneration.

'Their creation does not challenge or diminish the role of local

councils in regeneration. There is a vital role for councils in

enabling regeneration to happen at the local level.'

She concluded:

'RDAs represent real devolution of economic decision-making powers

and resources to the English regions. They are a tangible expression

of our commitment to devolution in England. Those of us convinced of

the merits of further devolution to the English regions should make

it our first task to see RDAs succeed.'

Figures for regeneration spending in the English regions are:

North East 228 £m

North West 428

South East 220

South West 122

London 783

Eastern 129

West Midlands 277

East Midlands 168

Yorkshire and Humberside 294

Total £2355m

These figures include Single Regeneration Budget since May 1997

(allocations for rounds 4 and 5, running until 2005) and Capital

Receipts Initiative for 1997-2000.

In addition the following regeneration-related funding has been

committed since 1997:

New Deal for Communities 800 £m

Sure Start 454

Health Action Zones 100

Coalfields 400

Early Excellence Centres 30

ONE 112

Crime Reduction Programme 250

Excellence in Cities 350

Total £2496m

Grand Total £4851m

* Hilary Armstrong's full speech is available from LGCnet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5.

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