The government’s new idea to combat high levels of poverty is pockets of the UK is to send in high-flying businesses people from top companies to advise on how to attract investment into the most deprived wards in the country.
There are 88 poverty hot spots that are in receipt of neighbourhood renewal funding (Brighton & Hove has two) and the government hopes that leaders like Stuart Hampson (Chair of John Lewis) and others can identify what needs to be done to attract more business investment without throwing public funds at these areas.
A special conference at the TUC Headquarters at the end of January will try to sell the message that although there isn’t a high level of disposable income in these areas the sheer density of population means that there is a profit to be made.
The government’s regeneration minister - Lord Rooker – is determined to show that business can be attracted to these areas without direct subsidies because there is a ready made market.
Many urban centres have lost businesses because they have failed to compete with town and city centre or out-of-town shopping centres. It requires a leap of faith for businesses to invest in deprived areas but as opportunities out of town continue to decline due to legislation limiting any new developments there is increasing interest in city centre and urban investment. However city centres such as Brighton with their guaranteed footfall and complimentary attractions are always going to be more of a draw that impoverished urban areas.
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