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Manifesto calls on public spending to ease recession

Funding from government building programmes could be used to part-fund schemes to regenerate Britain out of recession and provide jobs and homes, according to a new report by the British Property Federation

The ‘Regeneration Manifesto’ calls on public bodies to capitalise ‘on committed investment’ by looking at ways to fund vital regeneration schemes that could provide employment and housing across the country.

The manifesto sets out five areas for change that would not require any more government finance. These are: encourage innovative funding streams, such as tax increment financing (TIFs), expand equity sharing and public sector guarantees, use public funding more effectively, reform damaging EU red tape and encourage a professional rented housing sector.

One example of innovating highlighted by the BPF, is to encourage councils to look at including housing or retail above schools, or through land nearby for development. Schools could share campuses with leisure and retail schemes. A music hall could be used by students, ‘but become a commercial facility out-of-hours’.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said: ‘Making regeneration viable from a developer’s point of view isn’t about using public money to enhance the private sector’s profits, it is about enabling partnerships and allowing the public to benefit from what developers do best. Regeneration schemes involve a tremendous amount of financial risk for the private sector but the benefits are clear for all to see.’

Sir Bob Kerslake, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said: ‘In the current economic conditions, the keys to maintaining housing and regeneration activity are flexibility and innovation and I support pragmatic consideration of new models, as suggested here by the BPF.  There is much here which warrants further exploration, and at the HCA we would welcome an active role in this.’ 

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