Urban Summit

Oral Answers to Questions — Deputy Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 29th January 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Labour/Co-operative, Sheffield, Heeley 11:30 am, 29th January 2003

If he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent urban summit in Birmingham.

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The 1,500 people who attended the summit came from all walks of life at home and abroad in both the public and the private sectors. They emphasised the need to exchange best practice, simplify and clarify policies and programmes, and engage the community more effectively to establish more sustainable communities. I hope to include some of the lessons from the conference in next week's statement on communities.

Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Labour/Co-operative, Sheffield, Heeley

I thank my right hon. Friend for his answer. Many cities such as my own, Sheffield, are experiencing a building boom in the centre, as people move to live in the city. However, that throws into sharp relief estates on the outskirts of the city, such as Gleadless valley in my constituency, where although quality of life is improving, there is still some way to go. How will the results of the urban summit help such estates?

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The urban summit made it clear that there are different problems in different areas. The mayor of Milwaukee in the United States talked about how the decline in urban areas had led to many people moving to live outside such areas, which gave rise to a different range of problems. I hope that next week's statement on sustainable communities will contain some ideas about how we can learn from best practice in other countries to improve our communities.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

Although I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister throwing his considerable political weight behind the important issue of urban renaissance, may I ask him to call another summit—a rural summit, perhaps in Devon—to examine the also important issue of the crisis in affordable housing to buy and to rent in many parts of rural Britain?

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that my previous Department produced urban and rural White Papers, and the conference covered both of those aspects. We are thinking about having a separate rural conference to meet some of the demands. In my statement on the right to buy, I announced that I would make it much easier for people in the areas to which he refers to get affordable homes.