The Scottish Office has invited councils and other regeneration agencies to form partnerships and bid for Urban Programme funding under the new policy framework 'Programme for Partnership'.
Mr Robertson said: 'This is an important first step towards the creation of new regeneration partnerships for the most deprived urban areas in Scotland. We are giving councils and their regeneration partners until June 30 to draw up regeneration strategies and submit them to us.
'By the autumn, we expect to have designated the first new Priority Partnership Areas, in each of which a broadly based partnership will undertake the comprehensive regeneration of the area. Those partnerships will receive a block allocation of money from the Urban Programme, leaving detailed decisions about regeneration projects to be taken by the partnership.
'Programme for Partnership was scheduled for implementation at the start of this year however at the end of last year COSLA suggested to the secretary of state that the Urban Programme be abolished. Serious consideration was given to this proposal which attracted very little support, and I am glad to see that COSLA itself has now changed its mind. Today's announcement begins the process of targeting the Urban Programme on the most effective regeneration strategies for the most deprived areas in Scotland.'