Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles is in charge of the Department for Communities and Local Government, which has been criticised over its regeneration strategy. REUTERS/Phil Noble

A group of MPs has "little confidence" in the government's strategy for regeneration across England, according to a new report published on Nov. 3.

The Communities and Local Government Select Committee released the findings from its inquiry into regeneration in England, highlighting "several grounds for concern".

It says the government is "unlikely" to bring in enough cash to fund regeneration projects with the measures it's currently pursuing.

Furthermore it dismisses the government as "wrong to place so much emphasis on funding streams such as the New Homes Bonus, the Regional Growth fund and rail investment" because they "are not focused primarily upon regeneration".

Its strategy for getting private sector growth is "lacking", it's accused of not appreciating the "scale of the challenge", and told it shows "little regard to the lessons from previous approaches".

Finally the report calls on the government to "publish a national regeneration strategy that sets out a coherent approach to tackling deprivation in the country's most disadvantaged communities."

"The government's approach is laid out in what amounts to slightly more than three pages of text. Little of this is new," said urban regeneration Professor Paul Lawless in his written evidence to the committee.

"Indeed the document as a whole does no more than reiterate existing initiatives falling somewhat vaguely within the remit of 'regeneration'.

"Moreover, some of the ideas laid out in this document appear questionable. The assumption, for instance, that private sector employment will everywhere take up labour market slack occurring as a result of public sector cut-backs seems heroic."

Clive Betts, the Labour MP and chair of the committee, said the government is only focused on economic growth when it comes to regeneration.

"The government has cut public funding for regeneration programmes dramatically and has produced no adequate 'strategy' for regeneration sufficient to tackle the deep-seated problems faced by our most deprived communities," he said.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, lead by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, said that additional funding will go to help those in the worst-affected streets, as well as pursue de-centralisation of decision making powers so local people "can make the key decisions over how they would like to improve their own neighbourhoods".

A spokesperson added: "But we know that true regeneration can only be achieved by creating the conditions for communities and businesses to thrive in.

"That's why we have axed the failed Regional Development Agencies and introduced business-led Local Enterprise Partnerships and low tax, low regulation Enterprise Zones that are being planted across the country to give businesses the incentives they need to grow their local economy and create thousands of new jobs."