Council regeneration and renewal projects must be maintained during the recession as a means of getting the long-term unemployed back into work, said Communities secretary John Denham
Denham has urged councils not to axe such projects just to save money, according to a report on the Regen.daily website of Regeneration & Renewal magazine.
He was speaking after two councils, Sunderland and Derby, voted to scrap their dedicated regeneration teams as part of internal restructuring to cut costs.
He had just announced £40 million of extra funding for the Working Neighbourhoods Fund, adding to the £1.5 billion provided to the 61 councils in England.
Denham said that wants councils to use the extra funding invest in schemes to reduce entrenched unemployed in communities, and that it would be ‘a great shame if councils axed regeneration departments to save money during the recession’.
He said: ‘Recently there has been an admirable focus on supporting people who are out of work as a result of the recession.
‘However, we must not neglect those families and individuals that have been out of work for many years. They need to know they have not been written off.’