Regenerating the English Coalfields
HC 84, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2009-2010
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Whitehall initiatives to revive former coalfield communities have helped to make them more attractive places to live and work but many remain among the most deprived areas in England and opportunities to help train local people and promote local businesses have been missed.
The regeneration effort has three strands:
The National Coalfields Programme - to decontaminate and find uses for former coalfield sites.
The Coalfield Regeneration Trust - to provide grants to community projects.
The Enterprise Fund - to support businesses.
The cost for these three schemes is £630 million to date and spending is set to reach almost £1.1 billion. The Programme expects to have treated 90% of land by its target completion date of 2012 and it will take twice the ten-year timescale of the original Programme to achieve its aims for housing and employment space. While the Trust has exceeded most of its targets, because of strict funding cycles for departments it can currently offer support only up to 2011 and so the future of many projects is at risk.
The Department took five years to put the Enterprise Fund in place because of delays in meeting state aid requirements and protracted and unsuccessful negotiations with a private bank. 'Regenerating the English Coalfields (HC 84)' also found there is no overall strategy to coordinate the three initiatives and each reports and accounts for its work in isolation.
A forum established in 2007 to co-ordinate efforts across Whitehall has met only six times, is poorly attended and has no substantive actions to date. At the local level the NAO found the Trust and the Fund could work more closely with the National Coalfields Programme to help train people to benefit from jobs created by the regeneration and to promote local business moving onto employment space developed on the sites. In addition, the Homes and Communities Agency and some Regional Development Agencies each claim all the credit for jobs created on coalfield sites, resulting in over-reporting of the benefits
|Format||Paperback||Published||17 Dec 2009|
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