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As part of its strategy, the government gave the go ahead to the first 24 local enterprise partnerships, amid concerns that the short bidding period and mixed messages from Business Secretary Vince Cable and the CLG's Eric Pickles have left parts of the country, without a partnership.
Amongst the roles suggested for LEPs in the white paper is "strategic housing delivery, including pooling and aligning funding streams to support this".
Ministers also declared the £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund open for business. The fund will support the creation of private sector jobs and will particularly support communities currently dependent on the public sector. The 24 LEPs will be encouraged to bid for support from the fund. The fund could also potentially fund housing renewal activity - the housing market renewal pathfinder programme is to end once existing committed schemes are completed.
However, critics have pointed out that the Regional Growth fund, to be spread over three years, is the equivalent to the amount Regional Development Authorities were receiving each year.
The White Paper also confirms proposals for:
- a New Homes Bonus from April 2011 which will match fund the additional council tax raised for new homes for the following six years. £200m has been set aside to fully fund the scheme in 2011-12. A consultation paper on is promised ‘shortly’.
- a reformed planning system which will "give communities and neighbourhoods more power over decisions, increase investor certainty and help international businesses locate, move within or stay in the UK"
- Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which will enable local authorities to borrow against future increases in business rate revenues