Investment in North 'must continue'

15 June 2009

Newcastle

Shelter is calling on the Government to commit to continue funding the regeneration of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the North and Midlands.

In a new report launched today, Shelter is warning that unless Government urgently commits more money, the impact of the recession could jeopardise the improvements that housing programmes have made and leave communities in limbo.

Read the report in full

So far £1.6billion has been invested in Housing Market Renewal. However, money has only been committed until 2011 and Shelter believes at least the same amount of investment is needed from 2012 onwards, to ensure funding doesn’t simply dry up in two year's time and progress grind to a halt.

The housing market renewal (HMR) programme, launched in April 2002, aimed to tackle housing market failure and low demand for housing in the North and Midlands. The HMR programme was designed to regenerate housing markets by demolishing, refurbishing and building new homes in nine 'pathfinder' areas and subsequently three sub regional partnerships, including Newcastle and Gateshead.

Whilst the HMR programme has made a difference to neighbourhoods experiencing deep-rooted social and economic decline, the report concludes that funding for HMR must continue in the long-term or these housing markets may not withstand the harsh effects of the recession.

Martha Hannan, Shelter Campaigns Manager said: 'The Housing Market Renewal programme has the potential to make a real difference to housing in the North and Midlands and help bring improvements to communities that desperately needed investment.

'However, given the current economic downturn these communities may be hit hard over the next few years. Government must continue to fund Housing Market Renewal to ensure improvements in the North and Midlands are not undone by the recession and people in the areas get decent homes in communities they can thrive in.'