Clock ticking for Boris to deliver post-riot regeneration

15 August 2014

Three years on from the 2011 riots, the London Assembly has found that of the £70 million Mayor’s Regeneration Fund (MRF) [1] allocated to fund regeneration in areas most affected by the riots, just 16 per cent has so far been spent. [2]

Out of the ashes. The Mayor’s Regeneration Fund’, [3] a new report by the London Assembly Regeneration Committee examines how the MRF has been spent to improve the quality of life for Londoners living and working in riot-affected areas.

In an already revised spending profile, the Mayor had indicated that the planned spend would be £35.5 million of the £70 million by April 2014; however the Committee found £11.4 million had been spent by this point. [4] This could be seen to undermine the Mayor’s commitment to ‘ensure these areas are regenerated quickly and transformed into safe and attractive places to live, work and invest in’. [5]

Gareth Bacon, Chairman of London Assembly’s Regeneration Committee said,

“The 2011 riots left many already deprived areas of London facing even bigger economic hurdles and challenges after such wanton destruction. The Mayor’s Regeneration Fund was a welcome recognition that these areas would need help on the path to recovery.”

“These projects must be delivered in a timely and effective manner, so Londoners who have experienced long-term decay in their communities can live in a safe environment, with access to jobs and economic growth.

“The Mayor needs to work closely with boroughs to get regeneration projects back on schedule and demonstrate how these significant sums are achieving real economic gains for London.”

The MRF has been used to revamp transport links and public spaces. But some local businesses in riot-affected areas expected improvements to happen more quickly, such as upgrades to shop fronts on London Road in Croydon.

The Committee has called on the Mayor to refresh his efforts to deliver the MRF, and to do more to explain to affected residents how the money will be spent in future years. It also asks the Mayor to update Londoners on the progress of MRF programmes by the end of the year.

Notes:

  1. As of April 2014, the GLA had spent £11.4 million of its £70 million Fund – 16 percent of its allocated funding. (Out of the ashes report, page 16)
  2. Composition of the MRF: The £70 million MRF is administered by the Mayor. The package comprises of £50 million from the Greater London Authority (GLA), and£20 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) London Enterprise Fund. Including match funding from the eight boroughs who successfully bid to receive GLA funding, the regeneration fund is worth almost £97 million in total. (Out of the ashes report, Appendix 1 page 26).
  3. Out of the ashes. The Mayor’s Regeneration Fund (MRF)’ report (Recommendations page 32).
  4. The Mayor announced the MRF in the wake of the August 2011 riots to further the GLA’s long-term aim to improve town centres.
  5. Gareth Bacon AM, London Assembly Regeneration Committee Chairman is available for interview. See contact details below.
  6. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alice Andrewartha on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.