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Regeneration is good for all of us, says Labour advisory group – University of Reading

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Regeneration is good for all of us, says Labour advisory group

Release Date 06 June 2006

The more regeneration the better, is the message of Labour advisors' LFIG Regeneration Group, in a wide-ranging report on regeneration in the UK ('The Gruneberg Report'). "We have clear evidence to show that when the Government spends on regeneration, it produces more revenue than it spends," said Dr Stephen Gruneberg, of the University's School of Construction Management & Engineering and chair of the LFIG Regeneration Group. "This revenue could be used to stimulate the UK economy even more than at present. Whilst the Government has done much to turn around our communities, more could still be happening on the ground. "There is a lot of interest on the part of financial institutions in funding regeneration projects, but it's not translating into action," Dr Gruneberg said. "We need to see a further shift in both national and local government encouragement and thinking." The report, 'Effective Regeneration Action: Finance & Regeneration', calls for a new measure to replace Value for Money – "Satisfaction over Time"; a halt to the setting up of yet more regeneration agencies; greater contact at earlier stages between masterplanners and funders; and longer term commitment to programmes and actions. Funders want to see a step change in the attitudes and behaviour of planners in the UK, the report claims. It recommends improved financial awareness training and a greater willingness on the part of Government to encourage departments to work together, communicate and co-operate. "Long term commitment is what's needed - now," said Dr Gruneberg. "Whilst Government is committed to PFI and Public Private Partnerships (PPP), and is introducing Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), these are not enough." The report recommends that Government should give more attention to further funding structure models to meet the complex demands of funding infrastructure investment and mixed use schemes and portfolios, and puts forward two models as examples. Local authorities, in particular, were also singled out in this context as needing to see beyond their traditional boundaries and use their assets together with other stakeholders to better effect. "We're not saying they have to become financiers," said Dr Gruneberg. "But they should be able to recognise the financial implications of some of their regeneration plans much more than they do at present – particularly when working with funders." Dr Gruneberg called for an end to the plethora of agencies which the Government has established or endorsed to help deliver its regeneration policies. The report cites the example of Dortmund in the Ruhr, Germany, which has successfully reinvented itself following the decline of its traditional industries. It also draws upon other examples in the UK. "Dortmund has only achieved its repositioning through being focused, far-sighted and committed," said Dr Gruneberg. "It has really shown what can happen when agencies all work together effectively." Underpinning the report is a detailed econometric model. The report concludes that regeneration is an opportunity, not a problem. "The Government's commitment to regeneration, and the keen interest in the UK investment community in financing regeneration projects, represent an opportunity from which all of us can benefit. "Given a willingness to review its position and change, there is no good reason why the public sector cannot rise to the challenge and actively deliver effective regeneration in partnership with the private sector." Ends Media contacts Dr Stephen Gruneberg T: 020-7724-9003 M: 07746-950305 Nicholas Waloff T: 020-8998-3364 M: 07710-225638 Ed McCauley M: 07946-078898 Notes for Editors (1) LFIG (Labour Finance & Industry Group) is an advisory group of senior business and financial persons, set up in 1973, which provides policy advice and trouble-shooting to Ministers. Its current president is Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty. More information on its activities is available at It is independent of the Labour Party. (2) LFIG Regeneration Group, established in 2003, is a study group within LFIG. It has been holding extensive hearings across a range of industry and public sector bodies over the past 18 months. Its chair, Dr Stephen Gruneberg, is a construction economist at the University of Reading. Its members are drawn from the business, financial, consultancy, academic and local government sectors. (3) The report is being followed up with a Conference in late autumn 2006, now in its planning stages. (4) Copies of the report, 'Effective Regeneration Action: Finance & Regeneration' are available, price £30.00 incl. P&P, from: Central Books Ltd, 99 Wallis Road, London E9 5LN Tel: +44 (0) 845-458-9911 Fax: +44 (0) 845-458-9912 Email: Website:

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