Local MP Alex Cunningham has spoken out over the Government’s decision to terminate the Housing Market Renewal (HMR) Programme aimed to renew failing housing markets and to improve neighbourhoods like those in Stockton town centre.
“If you look at the areas which HMR operated, they are places such as Teesside, Hull, Merseyside, Newcastle, Oldham and Rochdale, all of which desperately need better housing. This was up to a 15-year programme that this Government have cut at the half way point. You can’t build a house overnight, it takes time and investment – something the Government doesn’t seem to understand.
“Earlier this year, the Audit Commission published a report in which they estimated that HMR was the catalyst for £5.8 billion of economic activity across the economy and created over 19,000 jobs in construction.
“In addition, 108,000 existing homes were refurbished under the scheme, it forced the hand of the private sector who then invested in the completion of 15,000 new homes and it made substantial sites for future development available which would have allowed for a further 30,000 properties to be built.
“The sooner this government realise that the only way this country will get back on the road to recovery is through a programme of growth rather than cuts the better. The Government have pledged £30million for Housing across five regions. Our plans for major renewal in Stockton and elsewhere on Teesside are very much at risk as the funds are so limited. “
“Eight years into the scheme and we were within touching distance of changing these communities for the better and revitalising the housing market. Now we could see communities slipping back by a decade and billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money simply thrown away.”
“I will continue to work with MPs across the House to try and persuade the Government they can’t abandon communities likes the ones in Stockton Town Centre”.