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Urban Aid Programme

Volume 975: debated on Tuesday 11 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what decisions he has made regarding funding of projects under his Department's urban aid programme; if he proposes to increase the present level of funding of £15 million in the next financial year; how many projects he estimates will have to be closed down if his Department does not allow more time for projects to change under the urban programme; and if he will make a statement.

Urban programme circular 20 published in September 1979 stated that projects which have been running for five years or more by the end of March 1981 should cease to receive any further automatic extensions of grant, but should instead be re-examined by the local authorities. If local authorities then wished to submit these projects, in competition with new ones, for a fresh period of grant lasting for five years they would be free to do so. Local authorities and voluntary groups running projects have over a year to prepare for this change. The Government are consulting those concerned about the future of the traditional urban programme. If there are particular problems involved these can be considered in the course of that review.The level of funding for the traditional urban programme will have reached £28million by 1980–81, which represents a slight increase over 1970–80. No decision has yet been taken about the allocation of resources in 1981–82, and this will depend on the outcome of the review.