Headlines: July 22nd, 2005

More than 100 local authorities across England are to benefit from a 1.3 billion pound package of government funding to help them tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, improve education and housing and deal with inequalities in health and the problems of worklessness. The money will be available under the Neighbourhood Renewal and Safer Stronger Communities Funds.The package was announced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and will see just over a billion pounds of Renewal Fund cash going to the 80 most deprived local authority districts in 2006 to 2008 and to six now significantly improved districts. The 265 million pounds from the Safer Stronger Communities Fund is split between the Neighbourhood Element. That will see money going over the same period to the 84 local authorities that contain pockets of deprivation in small neighbourhoods. The Cleaner Greener element of 105 million pounds will be targeted during 2006-2008 to the 50 councils that need to make significant improvements to their public spaces.

The Neighbourhood Renewal announcement will mean three councils – Barnet, Norwich and North East Lincolnshire – getting this funding for the first time. There will be a new 1million pound minimum allocation, which is a significant increase on the previous figure of 400,000 pounds. The councils that currently receiving funds but which have improved sufficiently to come off the list of most disadvantaged areas will continue to receive money but it will be tapered over the next two years. This is designed to support them through the transitional period and to allow them to sustain the progress they have made.

Phil Woolas, Minister for Local Government and Neighbourhood Renewal said the Government was determined to tackle areas of greatest deprivation and the latest funds were better targeted than before and would now reach almost all neighbourhoods that were within the 10 per cent most deprived in the country.

In all more than 100 local authority areas will benefit from the funds, which will be allocated by Local Strategic Partnerships, within the framework of Local Area Agreements where they exist.