Pounds 8m AID CASH LEFT UNSPENT; Midlands Failure Rapped
Byline: MAIL REPORTER
A GOVERNMENT regeneration scheme failed to spend a third of its budget in the West Midlands last year, it has been revealed.
Projects in the region managed to spend only pounds 14.78 million of their pounds 22.35 million allocation. The figures were revealed in a critical report by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on its own New Deal for Communities programme.
They came as MPs across the region campaign for a fairer deal for the West Midlands in education and transport spending.
The New Deal for Communities scheme is supposed to revive rundown inner cities by reducing crime, improving standards of health and education, and helping residents find work. Projects are running in Sandwell, Walsall, Coventry, Wolverhampton, and Aston and Kings Norton in Birmingham. The national evaluation for 2002-2003, published yesterday, showed that only 40 per cent of Aston residents had heard of the scheme -and fewer than 25 per cent of those people believed it had improved the area.
In some other parts of the region, awareness of the policy was much higher. …