Cameron reveals £140m “sink estate” revamp plan

11 Jan 16

David Cameron has set out a national plan to redevelop or rebuild 100 of the most rundown housing estates in England as part of a new government strategy to tackle poverty.

The prime minister said that poor quality housing estates with large high-rise flats and dark alleyways were “a gift to criminals”, and decades of neglect have led to gangs and anti-social behaviour.

Under the plan, £140m will be allocated to jump start regeneration projects. This would include either radical transformation of estates, or in the worst cases demolition and rebuilding new, quality homes.

In a speech later today on improving life chances, Cameron will say that “for decades, sink estates – and frankly, sometimes the people who lived in them – had been seen as something simply to be managed”.

However, the government will now be more ambitious, he will indicate.

“The mission here is nothing short of social turnaround, and with massive estate regeneration, tenants protected, and land unlocked for new housing all over Britain, I believe we can tear down anything that stands in our way.”

As part of the plan, a new Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel, which will be chaired by former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine, will report on the what work is required in estates across the country by the Autumn Statement.

Local government secretary Greg Clark added that the “worst estates offer huge potential to be revived so that they become thriving communities and places which people want to live and work in”.

He added: “That’s why we’re so determined to kick-start work which will benefit the lives of thousands of people by providing high quality homes.”
In addition, Cameron also announced a doubling of government funding for relationship support services to £70m as part of the government’s life chances plan.

He will call families “the best anti-poverty measure ever invented” and highlight that children in families that break apart are more than twice as likely to experience poverty as those whose families stay together.

Parenting classes will become more accessible, including through the government’s flagship Troubled Families programme, to boost parenting skills. Ministers will also consider introduction of a voucher scheme for parenting classes.

“In the end, getting parenting and the early years right isn’t just about the hardest-to-reach families, it’s about everyone,” Cameron will say.

“We all have to work at it. And if you don’t have a strong support network – if you don’t know other mums or dads, having your first child can be enormously isolating. Of course they don’t come with a manual, but is it right that all of us get so little guidance?

“So I believe we now need to think about how to make it normal – even aspirational ‒ to attend parenting classes.”

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