Magazine article Public Finance

NAO Slams Running of Gateway Scheme

Magazine article Public Finance

NAO Slams Running of Gateway Scheme

Article excerpt

Ambitions to regenerate the Thames Gateway area will fail unless costs are tackled and Whitehall departments and agencies co-operate, government auditors warned this week.

The National Audit Office criticised the scheme's project management, particularly the lack of an overarching implementation plan and the absence of financial information.

The government could only estimate that capital investment had totalled £7bn since 2003, despite the region being singled out for regeneration in 1995. Investment was also criticised for being directed at ineffective projects.

The report added that more funding was needed to deliver the infrastructure and services to allow communities to thrive.

The government's plans for the Thames Gateway - the area from Canary Wharf to the mouth of the Thames estuary - are intended to reverse 150 years of decline and transform the region into a desirable place to live and work.

But the NAO pointed out that house building rates would need to double to 12,500 a year if the target of 160,000 new homes by 2016 is to be met.

The lack of transport infrastructure was identified as the main barrier to development in the area and a major challenge, because not enough has been done to involve transport agencies in the planning for the process. …

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