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Building a Sustainable Future: Regeneration Discussion Paper



Alex Neil Minister for Housing and Communities photographAchieving equality of place and people are central aims of this Government's Economic Strategy. Regeneration is a crucial part of growing the Scottish economy; creating jobs and prosperity and improving the life chances of Scotland's people.

The Government remains committed to regeneration and with our partners across national and local government, the wider public, private and third sectors and communities themselves we are investing in the economic potential of our cities, towns and neighbourhoods, bringing much-needed investment, skills and business opportunities, and delivering real benefits for local people - jobs, training and employment.

There have been a number of major changes to the policy and funding environment for regeneration in recent years: the Concordat between the Scottish Government and local government and the commitment to an outcomes-focussed approach; the reform of the enterprise networks; and development and implementation of the three social policy frameworks, which provide the strategic framework for tackling the long-standing inequalities that exist in Scotland. All this has changed the way that regeneration is delivered in Scotland, creating new opportunities and requiring different approaches.

The changing landscape means that our approaches to regeneration also need to evolve to ensure that different interventions are as effective as they can be and work well together. Much has been achieved but the persistent problems associated with poverty and deprivation remain. We know that there is still a lot to do before all of Scotland can flourish in line with the Government's purpose. That is why it makes sense to bring people together to reflect on how regeneration can best evolve in the future.

The recession and economic crisis has hit the development industry particularly hard. It is clear that previous regeneration models that relied on debt finance coupled with rising land and property prices have not delivered in recent times and are unlikely to do so for the foreseeable future. Attracting investment to regeneration sites - traditionally viewed as more risky - has also become more challenging. Recession can often mean that more places enter a cycle of economic decline and more people require support and services.

The Scottish Government is facing an 11% cut in its budget in real terms between this financial year and 2014-15 - that means a real terms cut of £3.3 billion - and a reduction in capital funding of 33% by 2014-15. Taken together with the challenges facing some of our communities and the wider economy, it is clear that continuing as we are is not an option. We will need to make tough choices about our priorities, and we will need to develop new models and new approaches with our partners in the public and private sectors. We need our interventions to be sustainable for the long term and to deliver outcomes that meet the aspirations of the communities served.

This discussion paper is the start of that debate. It is not a review of regeneration policy and it does not seek to provide all the answers. Looking forward, it sets out where the Government sees the main regeneration challenges lying and the types of questions we will need to ask ourselves about our interventions and their effectiveness. It also brings together some current and new thinking about alternative approaches. Above all, it is hopefully a springboard for a wider debate and discussion about how we make all of Scotland's communities resilient and attractive places to live, work and invest in. We want to hear from our partners, and communities themselves, about their thoughts, ideas and aspirations for the future.

Alex Neil
Minister for Housing and Communities

February 2011