Years of regeneration policies have delivered few long-lasting outcomes for the most deprived communities in Scotland according to a report issued today by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee.
The report follows a year-long inquiry examining best practice and limitations in relation to the delivery of regeneration of Scotland. It found that although community was at the heart of much of the focus of regeneration work, in practice it was difficult for those living and working in those communities to have a real say on what was happening to them.
The Committee also found there was a key role for the Scottish Government in ensuring central responsibility for oversight and co-ordination of regeneration activity.
Committee Convener Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“What has become clear to our Committee during the course of the inquiry is that regeneration is not just about buildings, it is about community, which is central to improving lives of the people of Scotland. But all too often it seems that the community are not given a voice in what is happening to them.
“We have seen many, many years of regeneration in Scotland and all of this has had the best of intentions of reducing deprivation and inequality. What is needed now to deliver the vision is clear leadership as well as collaboration and co-ordination from all those involved.
“We heard time and again when we met in locations across Scotland that communities have little or no involvement in the work being undertaken but for regeneration to be truly and lastingly effective it has to be done by people rather than something which is done to them.”
Other conclusions from the report include:
- There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to tackling deprivation and inequality. However the strategic co-ordination to embed regeneration vision across Scottish Government policy has not yet been fully established.
- Strategic overview and leadership needs to be provided to all local authorities and Community Planning Partnerships (CPP).
- The funding landscape is unclear to many stakeholders and changes to small scale Scottish Government funded initiatives are not helpful.
- All local authorities, if they do not already have them, should have dedicated community officer posts to support community led projects.
- For regeneration to be community led then local authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and others need to give their confidence and resources to community groups.
- Consideration should be given to maximising the use of school assets.
- There is need for further improvement in CPP performance and this improvement can be supported by a stronger legislative framework covering all CPP partners.
- Robust advice is required on State Aid regulations as difficulties in applying the rules through a cautious risk averse approach can lead to the abandonment of schemes.
During the course of the inquiry the Committee visited communities across Scotland to hear first-hand about their experiences of regeneration. Communities visited include Maybole, Ferguslie Park, Govan in Glasgow, Whitfield in Dundee, Abronhill in Cumbernauld and Seaton in Aberdeen.
A copy of the Committee’s report can be found on the Committee’s webpages:
Local Government and Regeneration Committee