John Harman, chair of the commission said: 'With the Rogers' Urban Task Force not due to report until spring 1999 and the government's own urban white paper not expected until the end of next year, this paper offers us the greatest opportunity to influence the government's thinking on UK - as well as European urban policy'.
The alliance argues that a new coherent approach is needed for urban areas which reflects the changing needs and aspirations of the people who live and work in them. It says that methods for tackling urban problems have often been fragmented, based on scattered short term initiatives and targeted at ill defined issues.
Sir John discussed the paper with Mr Prescott and other cabinet ministers, at a Central Local Partnership meeting, which was followed by the launch press conference attended by minister for the regions, Richard Caborn.
Regeneration minister Richard Caborn said: 'This report is a welcome contribution to the debate on how we improve the quality of life in our towns and cities. It complements the work being done for us by Lord Rogers' urban task force, and will help inform our own urban White Paper, due out next year.'
Ian Peters, deputy director general, British Chambers of Commerce said: 'Government must make explicit, through a White Paper which is both radical and integrated in its approach, its recognition of our cities as vital engines for economic growth. Only through a framework which best enables business investment, growth and job creation - a commitment to urban competitiveness - can our wider social objectives be achieved.'
Mike Gwilliam, director of the Civic Trust said: 'The Civic Trust is delighted that the government has now responded to the consistent calls by both the trust and the alliance for an urban White Paper. The government's White Paper has a vital role to play and needs to contain some new elements which will hasten the urban renaissance. The document we are launching today is here to help that process and I hope it will stimulate a creative dialogue between the alliance and the government.'
Jim Coulter, chief executive, National Housing Federation said: 'Regenerating urban neighbourhoods means looking at the provision and quality of housing, together with the quality of schools, shops, public, transport and jobs. This partnership initiative is a very timely contribution to the urban policy debate.'
1) The urban alliance was formed by the LGA's urban commission, with other key organisations and agencies who also want to help influence the way that urban policy develops in relation to towns and cities to make them better places to live in. The LGA's urban commission has over 200 local authorities in its membership.
The following organisations are members of the Urban Alliance which jointly produced the paper:
Business in the CommunityHouse Builders Federation
TEC National CouncilThe Arts Council of Great Britain
Town and Country Planning AssociationRoyal Society of Health
Urban ForumAssociation of Colleges
Friends of the EarthCommission for Racial Equality
Chartered Institute of Environmental HealthFree Form Arts Trust Ltd
The Civic TrustBritish Urban Regeneration Association
The British Chambers of CommerceCouncil for the Protection of Rural England
English Tourist BoardBritish Waterways
Association of Town Centre ManagementAssociation of Chief Police Officers
Development Trusts AssociationNational Housing Federation
2) Realising Potential in Urban Areas is available from LGA Information on 0171 664 3131.