As part of the Spending Review 2002, the Government announced that they would be making available an additional £975 million for the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) in 2004–05 and 2005–06 as part of their strategy to revitalise England's poorest neighbourhoods and create places where people want to live, not leave.We have already provided £900 million of NRF to the 88 most deprived local authority areas for the period 2001–02 to 2003–04. Already, good progress has been made by local authorities in collaboration with Local Strategic Partnerships in using NRF to help address some of the most serious problems in our most deprived neighbourhoods.However, more needs to be done, particularly to support better tailoring and targeting of mainstream services to make sure they are reaching the people and places which need them most. To achieve this, we are committed to ensuring that these areas continue to receive both the resources and other forms of support needed to tackle postcode poverty and create thriving, sustainable communities.That is why we are announcing today that we intend to use most of these additional NRF resources to continue funding the current 88 eligible local authority areas in 2004–05 and 2005–06 at the 2003–04 level. This will mean an additional £800 million over the two-year period. We will confirm detailed figures of the allocations to individual local authorities shortly.Engaging the community in the process of neighbourhood renewal is central to the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. We are therefore also announcing today that we intend to provide an additional £86 million over the same period to support Community Participation programmes in the current 88 eligible areas for NRF.There remains £175 million of additional NRF resources still to be allocated. I will be making a further statement to the House shortly on how we intend to distribute these.
The Minister for Social Exclusion and Deputy Minister for Women
(Mrs. Barbara Roche)