Headlines: October 3rd, 2000

The Conservatives have put up alternative plans for tackling inner city deprivation. As the party gathers for its annual conference today in Bournemouth, the leader has launched a week of offering up alternative ideas to those currently being implemented, with proposals on unfamiliar territory. The party clearly believes that there is dissatisfaction with the rate of progress being made on this issue.The policy document ‘Believing in Our Cities’, argues that there are not enough places in the cities where people both want and can afford to live, and too many blackspots of deprivation and low-quality housing. The paper proposes an integrated approach, across government departments, to promote inner-city regeneration.

New Regeneration Companies would be set up in major cities. These would involve the local community, as now, while bringing in new expertise and investment from the private sector. The new companies, together with housing associations and business organisations, would be able to finance extra police officers. Community organisations, and housing associations would have new powers to tackle ‘neighbours from hell’ as well as being able to give rewards to good tenants. Local councils are also offered new sources of funding and new responsibilities to tackle graffiti, rubbish and improve the environment.