Government steps up bid to regenerate the North

Northern
cities such as Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and Leeds are set to benefit
from measures to close the north-south divide.

The
Government claims that northern regions could be £30bn a year better off if
their economic performance rose to the English average and this would create an
extra 200,000 jobs.

Deputy
Prime Minister John Prescott announced the plans to:


Put £155m into the housing market in parts of Merseyside and
Newcastle/Gateshead


Work closely with regional development agencies and planning bodies to exploit
economic and transport links


Develop a ‘northern growth corridor’ to attract new investment.

The
steps are set out in the report Making it Happen – the Northern Way, which is
the second update on the £22bn government programme to transform communities
through better housing, planning and economic development.

"There
is new confidence and energy in many of our Northern towns and cities. After
years of decline, people are moving back," said Prescott.

"But
they face a different set of challenges from the South East especially the
economy – therefore we need different solutions to different problems."

He
said the £155m to breathe life back into the housing market in Merseyside and
Newcastle/Gateshead will bring improvements to run-down and obsolete housing,
and create conditions for communities to thrive.

"And
it will attract an estimated £732m of public-private finance to support wider
regeneration of these areas," Prescott added.

By Quentin Reade

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