Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade

Graham Jones, Labour MP for Hyndburn, reports on why the government's abolition of the housing regeneration scheme riskes setting back communities by a decade.

By Graham Jones MP (Labour, Hyndburn)

At the end of this month the Housing Market Renewal programme (HMR) introduced back in 2002 under the previous Labour government, will come to an end; so, what is HMR? Housing Market Renewal (HMR) Pathfinders have operated since 2002 in areas of low housing demand.

They were introduced under the previous Labour government with the aim of rebuilding housing markets and communities in parts of the North and the Midlands where demand for housing is relatively weak – areas which have seen a significant decline in population, dereliction, poor services and poor social conditions.

The intention of the strategy was to renew failing housing markets and reconnect them to regional markets, to improve neighbourhoods and to encourage people to live and work in these areas.

HMR operated in several key areas of significant deprivation:

• Birmingham/Sandwell;
• East Lancashire;
• Hull and East Riding;
• Manchester/Salford;
• Merseyside;
• Newcastle/Gateshead;
• North Staffordshire;
• Oldham/Rochdale;
• South Yorkshire;
• West Yorkshire;
• West Cumbria; and
• Tees Valley.

The Government has claimed of the HMR scheme:

“There was something wrong with that programme and there is now an enormous funding problem. It will be for the local community and local authority to get together with the local enterprise partnership and pull together the various funding streams” – January 17th 2011

However a report (pdf) by the Audit Commission last week found that the Housing Market Renewal programme has made a substantial contribution to improving housing and economic circumstances in some of the country’s most deprived areas.

The report found that:

• £2.2 billion was invested in the Housing Market Renewal (HMR) programme since 2002 with on average around £115 being spent per resident per year;

• Every £1 of HMR investment attracted an additional £0.50 of investment from the private sector and £0.68 of public investment;

• In Newcastle Gateshead alone, £60 million of HMR funds, together with council and HCA contributions, is set to secure £400 million in private investment and deliver more than 4,000 new homes.

The report estimates that by the time the programme ends at the end of this month the HMR programme will have:

• Generated some £5.8 billion of economic activity across the economy;

• Created some 19,000 jobs in construction and related industries; and

• Helped maintain more than 2,600 jobs in the construction industry each year.

The report concludes:

“HMR areas need continuing investment. The communities in these deprived areas will still need support, and the task of regenerating housing markets will continue.”

Adding:

“[There is a need 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.”

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.

13 Responses to “Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade”

  1. Graham Jones MP

    Mounting Pressure on Grant Shapps to think again over decision to axe Housing Market Renewal programme. http://bit.ly/dHd7BX

  2. Emma Donaldson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade: http://bit.ly/flipcv #FalseEconomy

  3. Jack Robson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade: http://bit.ly/flipcv #FalseEconomy

  4. Siana 'Seb' Bangura

    RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade: http://bit.ly/flipcv #FalseEconomy

  5. Kelvin John Edge

    RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade: http://bit.ly/flipcv #FalseEconomy

  6. Anon E Mouse

    All this waffle cannot disguise the fact that less houses were built under the last Labour government than any other in history.

    Does anyone at all have a single positive thing to say about the Labour Party instead of this negative, meaningless petty spiteful stuff?

    Anything?

  7. Lewis Rogers

    RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade: http://bit.ly/flipcv #FalseEconomy

  8. Kevin Gulliver

    RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade: http://bit.ly/flipcv #FalseEconomy

  9. Mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse, how many houses do you expect to be built by this government if this program is cut?

    This sounds very much like a faulse economy.

    And it’s no use investing so much hope in a LEP system that even the minister in charge of it doesn’t have confidence in.

  10. rob marston

    RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade http://bit.ly/fttipI

  11. Chris Briddon

    RT @robcmar: RT @leftfootfwd: Axing of housing regeneration scheme could set communities back a decade http://bit.ly/fttipI

  12. Simon Landau

    When I was canvassing in Barnsley I spent most of my time in an HMR area outside the town. My observations confirm the Audit Commission’s findings. Not only was housing stock vastly improved to the great satisfaction of the residents I spoke to but the uplift encouraged a private developer to build an estate next to it (which has sold well in comparison to other areas.) The HMR policy was (and is) so right that Mouse can only splutter in his Colonel Blimp bath.

  13. Graham Jones MP

    You can read my article on cuts to housing regeneration funding on Left Foot Forward here: http://bit.ly/dHd7BX

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