Attack on red tape as Roche unveils shake-up for regeneration funding

Social exclusion minister Barbara Roche announced a shake-up of the
funding of regeneration and anti-poverty schemes last week to try
to reduce bureaucracy and improve effectiveness.

The decision follows an 11-month review of area-based initiatives
by the regional co-ordination unit.

Roche said: “We are stripping out unnecessary bureaucracy and
giving local people a voice to speed up the pace of change.”

Under the changes, three schemes including street crime will be
merged into the wardens funding stream. Five schemes, including the
Community Empowerment Fund and Community Chests, will share the new
ventures fund. Five others, including Communities Against Drugs,
will be supported by the crime initiatives funding channel.

Schemes including the crime reduction programme, home zones, health
action zones, education action zones and the single regeneration
budget will cease to exist as a result of merger, mainstreaming or
the ending of funding.

Urban Forum chief executive John Routledge welcomed the move to
rationalise regeneration initiatives and said local groups found it
confusing and time-consuming to apply to separate funding

But he warned that the government had to be careful not to reduce
the diversity of the schemes it financed. He said: “There is a
tension between having a diversity of activities or heading towards
a monoculture. One way to safeguard against this is to have
different people with different expertise dishing out the

Neil McInroy, policy director of the Centre for Local Economic
Strategies, said the government’s decision was a move towards
theme-based regeneration that targeted individuals.

“As a principle this is a good one because these initiatives can
pick up on problems pertaining to people rather than to places,” he

McInroy added that there was still a place in regeneration for
area-based initiatives that were successful, particularly in
smaller towns.

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