Headlines: November 26th, 2010

The Homes and Communities Agency operational budget is to be reduced by 50 per cent as it cuts funding worth £1.9bn for 13 regeneration schemes across England.

HCA is the national housing and regeneration agency and its role is to provide funding for affordable housing, to bring land back into productive use and improve quality of life by raising standards for the physical and social environment.

The running costs of the Agency will be reduced from £80m to £40m, saving £100m by 2015. The number of Directors will be cut from 12 to 6. The Agency’s premises will be reduced from 17 to four core offices.

The cut in funding for 13 regeneration schemes is part of a bid to scale back private finance initiative-funded housing. The schemes that are to axed include areas in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Schemes in progress will not be affected and 13 schemes where there is a financial commitment will go ahead.

The Agency will now concentrate on helping councils to maximise the impact of available funding, through their expertise on procurement and other technical services. It will also support councils where schemes have been abandoned and help them to find a non PFI route to revive the planned developments.