Urban Task Force campaigners came away from a private meeting with under-fire chancellor Gordon Brown last week feeling 'encouraged' and 'hopeful' that the government is at last planning tax breaks and a cash injection to regenerate Britain's inner cities.
The meeting between Lord Rogers, assistant director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England Tony Burton, and the chancellor represents a turning point for the task force after its proposals looked set to be ignored earlier this year when the chancellor refused to cut VAT on building refurbishment and brownfield development in the Budget.
'The people came away feeling that they had got their point across, ' said task force spokesman Jon Bennett.A 45 minute meeting of Rogers and London School of Economics social housing professor Anne Power withTony Blair was also said to have been encouraging.
Both meetings came in advance of publication of the Urban White Paper, which will set out new government policy on cities.This is not expected until at least the end of October.
How far the campaigners succeeded in influencing the chancellor will be tested in November when he makes the pre-Budget statement.