UK Government

Communities and Local Government: Healey: £300m to revive communities and create jobs

Press Release   •   Dec 23, 2009 10:25 GMT

Housing Minister John Healey today announced that communities across the North and Midlands will share £311m next year to boost work already underway to transform homes and regenerate communities.

Today's housing funding will also protect and create over 1,000 jobs and apprenticeships in the construction industry.

It is on top of a total of £1.7 billion funding to build new homes that John Healey has announced since June – supporting the construction industry through the recession, creating jobs and apprenticeships and helping to tackle the shortage of affordable homes.  This funding has helped councils build more homes and kick-start stalled housebuilding projects, including over £76m across the twelve Pathfinder areas.

Since 2002 the Housing Market Renewal programme has tackled severe housing market failure in parts of the North and Midlands, in places where prices had collapsed and there was widespread abandonment.

£2.2bn has been invested so far in regenerating towns across the 12 Pathfinders, including refurbishing almost 60,000 homes for around 140,000 people.

This next wave of funding will help renovate a further 6,500 homes for around 15,000 people.

Housing Minister John Healey said:

"We're investing billions of pounds across the country building new homes the country needs and helping to tackle the shortage of affordable housing. But we must also continue our drive to bring existing homes and communities back up to scratch in parts of the country that previously lagged behind the rest.

"I am today backing these towns with £311m to transform themselves into the sorts of attractive communities that will bring people back to live there and provide much needed new homes. Crucially it will improve the quality of life and the neighbourhoods for those people stuck, unable to sell their homes, in these abandoned streets.

"At the same time this power of government investment will also support the construction industry during the recession, create opportunities for local workers and apprentices to learn a trade."

There are twelve Housing Market Renewal (HMR) areas: Birmingham/Sandwell, East Lancashire, Hull & East Riding, Manchester/Salford, Merseyside, Newcastle/Gateshead, North Staffordshire, Oldham Rochdale, South Yorkshire, Tees Valley, West Cumbria and West Yorkshire.

All twelve areas have had to prove they will deliver value for money, judged on factors such as housebuilding and refurbishment levels and – for the first time – on the numbers of jobs and apprenticeships this funding would create locally, and how this will support economic recovery.

The £311m for 2010-11 is planned to be distributed across the Pathfinder areas as follows:

Birmingham Sandwell: £11m
East Lancashire: £48m
Hull and East Riding: £28m
Manchester Salford: £42m
Merseyside: £47m
Newcastle Gateshead: £29m
North Staffordshire: £36m
Oldham Rochdale: £28m
South Yorkshire (includes West Yorkshire funding): £31m
Tees Valley: £10m
West Cumbria: £1m

Robert Napier, chairman of the HCA, said:

"The Pathfinders have proven that they have the power to transform their areas, removing blight and refurbishing swathes of empty properties. So I welcome Government's confirmation of this funding, which will allow us to continue our work in places where we have made important commitments to local people."

Notes to editors

1. HMR is a centrally funded programme, implemented by the Homes and Communities Agency

2. Under the HMR project 59,000 properties have been refurbished and 3,700 new properties built.  Around 16,000 properties have been demolished.

3.  The HMR partnerships were given a 3-year allocation for the CSR period 2008-11, announced by a Ministerial statement to Parliament on 28 February 2008.

4.  Final allocations for 2009/10 were announced on 10 March 2009; Pathfinders were awarded the confirmed 90% funding with a further 10% available based on strong performance. Progress towards meeting criteria set for the remaining 10% funding was assessed by the HCA early in July and announced on 17 July 2009 as part of the Housing Pledge package.

5.  There are 9 formally constituted HMR Pathfinders (Elevate East Lancashire, Transform South Yorkshire, Bridging Newcastle Gateshead, Oldham Rochdale, Manchester/Salford, Birmingham/Sandwell and New Heartlands (Merseyside). Three areas of wider low demand were added later to the programme: Tees Valley, West Cumbria and West Yorkshire.

6.  Since 2002 individual Pathfinder areas have benefited from the following funding:

Birmingham Sandwell: £139m
East Lancashire: £270m
Hull and East Riding: £113m
Manchester Salford: £322m
Merseyside: £295m
Newcastle Gateshead: £200m
North Staffordshire: £178m
Oldham Rochdale: £184m
South Yorkshire: £245m

From 2006/7, approximately £75m has also been allocated to the three areas of wider lower demand which joined the Pathfinder programme – £42m for Tees Valley, £14m for West Cumbria, and £18m for West Yorkshire – making a total of more than £2bn allocated to the HMR programme since 2002/3.

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