The housing developments being targeted reportedly include the Lower Falinge estate in Rochdale, Greater Manchester [Image: Alamy].

This would be priceless if we didn’t already know that the price tag is £140 million – plus interest.

That’s the cost of David Cameron’s plan to level so-called ‘sink estates’, characterised by high levels of crime, economic and social deprivation.

This Blog reported last month that Cameron has realised that poor people live in such estates, so his plan is to get rid of the estates in the hope that the poor people will follow.

Council estates would be bulldozed to make way for new, private developments that must, by definition, cost the eventual residents more.

This is the project that

At the time, I wrote: “All he is proposing is new estates for richer people, while the poorer are moved on – either to ghettoes elsewhere in the country or straight onto the streets.

“And the causes of poverty – Cameron’s own neoliberal, right-wing policies – will remain.”

Now we learn that Cameron’s Conservative Government is too miserly even to stump up the case for what the prime minister has claimed is his legacy project – the event for which he hopes people will remember him.

Private developers would be loaned the money – and let’s remember £140 million is a pitifully small amount that will not cover the cost of bulldozing all the estates on Cameron’s list – and would have to pay it back with interest.

Expect a very low take-up.

After all, what self-respecting business would put itself out-of-pocket, simply to perpetuate Cameron’s good name?

David Cameron’s promise to spend millions on bulldozing and rebuilding sink estates as a key part of his prime ministerial legacy appeared to unravel … as it emerged that the small amount of money set aside for the project can only be accessed by private developers in the form of loans.

To great fanfare, the prime minister announced his intention in January to potentially tear down 100 of the UK’s worst estates to tackle drug abuse and gang culture. The modest size of the £140m “fund” set aside by Cameron to meet costs was widely questioned at the time, but Downing Street insisted that the redevelopment programme would reverse decades of neglect.

The housing developments being targeted reportedly include the Winstanley estate in Wandsworth, south London, the Lower Falinge estate in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and Broadwater Farm in Tottenham, north London.

Now the Observer has learned that the £140m is only available in loan form to private sector organisations who come forward to regenerate stricken areas. A statement quietly released by the Department for Communities and Local Governmentin February admitted: “£140m of loan funding has been set aside by government, to be used as a springboard for partnership and joint venture arrangements, with the active involvement of communities.”

A spokesman said the rate of interest on the loans to private companies would vary “scheme by scheme”. The application process, more than a month since the announcement, has yet to be opened to interested parties.

Source: David Cameron’s £140m to tear down sink estates turns out to be a loan | Society | The Guardian