29/01/2004

Business initiative set to tackle 'investment no-go areas'

The private and public sector must work together to ensure that no neighbourhood is seen as an 'investment no-go' area, the Minister for Regeneration Jeff Rooker has said.

Too many people are missing out on access to the level and quality of goods and services most of us take for granted, and the private must public sectors work together to make a "real difference" to communities deprived of such services by recognising the wealth creation potential of areas of high population density, readily available pools of labour and under-served markets, Mr Rooker told a conference hosted by the British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA).

Investment must be brought into deprived neighbourhoods to create a "virtuous circle" in which an increase in economic activity will lead to more local employment, increased local wealth and thus attract more investment, he added.

The conference, set up by the Under-served Markets project, is part of an initiative that aims to demonstrate where business opportunities exist in deprived areas to benefit all and create sustainable communities.

The project, sponsored by Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in association with Business in the Community (BiTC) and the retail trade.

Mr Rooker also announced that four areas, among 88 of England's most deprived communities, would be chosen to test a model for promoting private sector investment in deprived areas.

The pilot areas will be drawn from a current shortlist comprising: Barnsley, Bolsover, Bradford, Dudley, Haringey, Hastings, Lewisham, Luton, Oldham, Salford, Sedgefield, and Waltham Forest.

Other organisations with whom the government is working in the project include the British Retail Consortium (BRC), British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) and the British Urban Regeneration Association.

(gmcg)

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