Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 6th December 2022.
I absolutely agree. By utilising the area-specific knowledge of local residents, priorities and desired outcomes can be determined at neighbourhood level. Polling by Survation found that the residents of left-behind neighbourhoods held a strong belief in the power of community action. A clear majority said that they would prefer a greater say over how money is spent locally. Research by the all-party parliamentary group for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods has found that social infrastructure is what our neighbourhoods most lack. That has an impact on how people feel about their area. Clearly, we need to build community confidence and capacity.
An in-depth analysis of local area initiatives over the last 40 years by the University of Cambridge identifies characteristics that have improved participants’ chances of better social and economic outcomes. It found that the programmes that focused investment on a small geographical area of between 3,000 and 10,000 residents, which had control of decisions, design and resources to local people and adapted bespoke approaches rooted in each area’s particular characteristics, and areas that guaranteed a long-term, consistent commitment over 10 to 15 years, were found to be more likely to deliver benefits for communities.