§ Mr. Thomason
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will publish the inner cities research programme report "Assessing the Impact of Urban Policy"; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir George Young
The inner cities research programme report "Assessing the Impact of Urban Policy" is being published today by HMSO. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The report is a substantial and wide-ranging analysis, covering the policies and programmes of several Government Departments and agencies over the period 1979 –80 to 1990 –91. It concludes that, across the 57 urban priority areas there was, over that period, a relative improvement in their social and economic fortunes, and that the gap between these 57 areas and other areas narrowed in the 1980s, notwithstanding some deterioration in the core areas facing the most intractable problems. It further concludes that across the whole set of targeted places and in the smaller areas within some of the conurbations, public resources appear to have made an impact on improving inner-city areas.
The report draws five policy conclusions about how the delivery of Government programmes might be further improved and about how local authorities and communities might be more effectively involved in regeneration. These recommendations have been addressed by the major reforms which the Secretary of State for the Environment announced in November 1993, and which were implemented in April 1994 after the report was completed.
These reforms include the establishment of Government offices for the regions, bringing together the regional offices of the Department of the Environment, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Employment and the Department of Transport to make Government more responsive and accessible to local communities and employers; and the single regeneration budget, worth some £1 .4 billion in 1994 –95, which combines 20 programmes from five Government Departments to support locally devised measures to encourage regeneration, economic development and industrial competitiveness.