Tuesday, July 13 2004

John Prescott has confirmed today that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will spend £38bn over the next 5 years in its drive to tackle housing shortages in the South and boost the economic renaissance of the North. This follows the Chancellor’s announcement on future public sector spending yesterday.

Some of the extra money will fund an extra 10,000 social rented homes a year to help tackle homelessness. This is in response to the Barker Review earlier this year, which said that up to 140,000 new homes must be built every year from now to meet the acute need for more housing in Britain.

Between 2006 to 2008 further money will go towards a new Community Infrastructure fund worth £200 million. This will provide a transport infrastructure for the four growth areas of the South East, helping to support development of new sustainable communities there.

Other spending initiatives include £525 million to help deprived neighbourhoods to eradicate ‘postcode poverty’; trebled spending in the North and Midlands to tackle the scourge of abandoned homes and drive up economic development; and a new Safer and Stronger Communities Fund to ‘improve liveability and community safety’.

Mr Prescott said: ‘This [Spending Review] keeps us on track to deliver an extra 200,000 homes in London and the South East by 2016, and allows us to respond to new proposals for sustainable growth where there is demand locally.’ He went on to say, however, that the government must ‘avoid the mistakes of the past, delivering not just housing, but the infrastructure the communities need.’

ODPM

The Treasury