Scottish Executive criticised for further delays to action plan

Scottish Executive criticised for further delays to action plan


 


Barry McCarthy


New Start magazine


07.02.07


 


 


The Scottish Executive has been criticised for failing to produce a regeneration action plan it said would be available at the end of last year.


 


The executive’s ‘people and place’ regeneration policy statement, released in February 2006, said it would publish a detailed work programme on how it would carry out the report’s recommendations.


 


A spokesperson for the executive said the plan was now likely to be published sometime this spring.


 


Chik Collins, senior lecturer in politics at Paisley University and a writer on regeneration issues, said the delay could be down to a ‘fundamental contradiction at the heart of “people and place”.’


 


He said the statement was trying to maximise the involvement of the private sector in regeneration through the privatisation of public services while at the same time attempting to convince deprived communities they will be better off.


 


‘The executive wants to resolve two things which don’t go together,’ he said. ‘When you free up markets the poorest communities become worse off.’


 


Dr Collins said the executive should instead provide more desirable and affordable housing and lobby for a higher minimum wage and benefit levels if it is serious about reducing the gap between Scotland’s richest and poorest communities.


 


He added the departure of former communities minister Malcolm Chisholm, who resigned in December after opposing Labour’s plans to replace Trident submarines, was another setback to the action plan.


 


Another academic, Robert Rogerson, a senior lecturer in geography at Strathclyde University, said the delay could be because of Scottish parliament elections in May and the possibility of a new administration.


 


‘It would have been unwise to release an action plan if in four months’ time another one has to be produced,’ he said.


 


‘I expect some adjustments to be made after the election.’


Martin Johnstone, executive director of Faith in Community Scotland, said the delay was disappointing.


 


He added the action plan must demonstrate how it will work with organisations involved in regeneration to be of real value.