To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which investment in labour-intensive housing and infrastructure schemes can contribute towards both alleviating the current economic situation and increasing employment levels; and whether they took that into account when announcing on 28 February funding levels for the housing market renewal pathfinder schemes which will reduce funding by approximately 9 per cent between 2008–09 and 2009–10 and between 2009–10 and 2010–11. [HL2146]
Decisions to grant funding to the housing market renewal programme for 2008-11 were taken as part of allocations within the Department of Communities and Local Government following the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007.
The funding reflects in part the initial success of the programme in narrowing the gaps in house prices and vacancies between pathfinders and their regions. It also recognises the need to tackle problems of deep-seated structural need and to ensure that the housing market renewal and growth programmes can be taken forward together where appropriate. The total of approximately £2.2 billion invested since 2002 represents a very substantial local economic stimulus and the programme is bringing back confidence to areas that have been neglected for too long, something that is particularly important in times of economic uncertainty. The announcement on 10 March 2009 confirming funding allocations for 2009-10, gives further incentive to pathfinders to focus on outcomes precisely to help stimulate local economic activity.