Affluent areas bank the benefits - as poor places lose out

Scottish regeneration experts tackle money myths with nine bold and practical solutions.

“Despite all the talk about tackling poverty, most regeneration investments still go into wealthier areas”, said SURF Chief Executive Andy Milne. “Everyone wants a fairer Scotland, but the reality is that our current approach is increasing, rather than reducing, inequality.”

SURF – which represents some 250 regeneration organisations – is challenging all political parties to tackle damaging inequality by addressing the misdirection of public investments and resources.

SURF’s 2016 manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections is based on 18 months’ of extensive cross sector consultation and investigation. It concludes with nine practical policies that would direct money and resources to where they could effect real change.

The manifesto cites evidence from:

1. University of Glasgow research showing local authorities provide a higher standard of public service to people living in wealthy communities, compared to poorer areas.
2. Ryden Property Consultancy, which identifies a post-2008 ‘flight to prime’ trend of public and private sector capital investment towards Scotland’s commercial centres and affluent areas, to the further detriment of poorer areas.
3. A major Scottish Parliament committee inquiry into regeneration, which found wide agreement from academics, practitioners and community representatives that there is an inadequate prioritisation of investment in deprived places.

“Some key decision-makers seem to cling to the idea that investing in wealthier places is the best way to help poor ones”, said Andy Milne. “SURF’s 2016 manifesto explains why that has not worked and sets out what we can do to make Scotland a fairer, wealthier and more successful place for everyone.”

The manifesto’s central proposals call for sustained investment in 15 strategic places of differing scale and geography, coupled with a statutory duty for public bodies to consider the impact on economic disadvantage of every spending decision.

SURF is using the manifesto, launching this week (14 Jan), to urge all of the main political parties competing for seats in the 2016 Scottish elections to recognise the misdirection of regeneration resources. “By signing up to our policy recommendations”, Andy Milne said, “the parties can demonstrate a real commitment to change for disadvantaged places, poverty and inequality.”

Read SURF’s 2016 Manifesto for Community Regeneration here.

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