New Deal, same old funding fears says audit

National Audit Office says Government regeneration initiative struggles to deliver

The Government’s flagship regeneration initiative, worth £2 billion, is struggling to deliver on the ground, says the National Audit Office. The NAO last week published an early-progress report on the New Deal for Communities programme aiming to improve 39 of the most deprived areas in England and narrow the gap in five areas: environment, employment, education, crime and health. Progress had been made in the scheme’s first three years, said the report. But agencies running the schemes needed to improve consultation, manage expectations and communicate progress more efficiently. “Action needs to be taken to strengthen basic processes related to governance, financial reporting and project appraisal criteria,” said NAO’s head, John Bourn. However he added “significant investments” were made to tackle deprivation. Regeneration minister Jeff Rooker said: “Major progress has been achieved. Community engagement is a prerequisite to creating sustainable communities and making urban renewal work in areas with long-term problems.”

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