Friday, 11 March 2011

Dromey calls on Government to think again on abandoning Housing Regeneration Programme

Jack Dromey, Labour’s Shadow Local Government Minister, has called on the Government to think again following the release of a report today which highlights the success of the Housing Market Renewal programme which will be terminated by the Government on 31st March, 7 years earlier than planned.

The report by the Audit Commission shows that the programme has:
· generated £5.8 billion of economic activity across the economy
· created some 19,000 jobs in construction and related industries
· for every £1 of HMR investment, attracted over £1 in additional investment from the private and public sectors – and it anticipates that this could have risen significantly had the programme been allowed to run its full length.
· refurbished more than 108,000 existing homes
· attracted private investment to complete over 15,000 new homes

The report suggests that the termination of the programme “untimely and premature” and it states that “the emphasis must be on completing current key interventions; not least to ensure that promises made to communities are met and to reduce the risk of previous investments being undermined by leaving a legacy of uncompleted projects.”

Jack Dromey, Shadow Local Government Minister, said;
“The conclusions of today’s report are clear. The Government has terminated a highly successful programme which generated billions of pounds worth of economic activity, created over 19,000 jobs, and improved communities in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

By terminating this programme the Government has dashed the hopes of thousands of people who were just beginning to see the benefit in their local communities. The programme helped refurbish over 100,000 homes and built thousands more. But as the report makes clear many local people were yet to benefit. And now the Government has terminated the programme, dashing their hopes and put nothing in its place.

The Government talks the talk on economic growth and empowering communities but in reality it has axed a highly successful local programme that delivered jobs, millions of pounds worth of private sector investment and highly successful neighbourhood regeneration. The Government should read this report, rather than burying it away on the Audit Commissions website. The report clearly shows that the Government has made a bad decision, abandoning hard hit communities and it should think again.”

Graham Jones MP for Hyndburn who has led the campaign on the HMR Pathfinder programme said;

“The Government is pulling the rug out from under people living in some of the worst deprived areas in the country. The Government has made a hasty decision to end a programme which has already invested over £2bn in some of our most deprived towns and cities. Community regeneration projects are now finding themselves half way through completion and without the funding to finish them.

Housing Market Renewal saw Government funding stimulate the housing market in the country’s most deprived communities which in turn leveraged millions of pounds in private sector investment. The programme had involvement from the local communities it served and was finally starting to give hope to those living in these poor conditions.

Eight years into the scheme and we were within touching distance of changing these communities for the better and revitalising the housing market. Now we could see communities slipping back by a decade and billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money being simply thrown away.”

1. The full report is available here: