Headlines: February 6th, 2002

Spending on regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods continues to rise, but an evaluation of completed projects reveals that there was little difference in the lives of people. A report produced by a team from Cambridge University for the DTLR reveals that almost 6 billion pounds was spent on ten projects over six years. Evaluation of the projects over three years shows that outcome changes were small.The employment strategies of the projects seek to reduce social exclusion by raising the level of employment, but the report highlights the difficulty of achieving this aim. The average head of household income for those in employment was 207 pounds per week, whilst the average income received by those entirely dependent on state benefits was 86 pounds. But when income tax, national insurance, travel expenses and loss of benefits are taken into account the differential between those in employment and those receiving benefit is reduced to 9 pounds per week. The report pointed out this narrow gap could easily be made up by the smallest degree of participation in the informal economy.

There was, however, an exception where researchers found more striking improvements from very unfavourable 1996 starting levels. There was a reduction in the proportion of working age households who were dependent on state benefits for their income. The proportion of lone-parent households had also fallen. Average incomes remained low but there was some improvement in income distribution. There was also a reduction in crime and in the fear of crime. But the evaluation team attributed most of these improvements to a housing renewal scheme, which was not funded by Regeneration Budget.

The Single Regeneration Budget has been the main source of support for local area regeneration in England over the period 1995-2001. The first round began in 1995/6 and the sixth and final round was announced in 2000/2001.

Link: <http://www.regeneration.dtlr.gov.uk/rs/00102/pdf/01.pdf