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News Regeneration IN BRIEF

Noriega extradition The French Foreign Minister has said Panama’s jailed former ruler Manuel Noriega will be extradited from France to his homeland. The minister says Noriega – who has

already been convicted in absentia of corruption and murder in Panama – will serve his sentences in his native land. Noriega, 77, is also wanted in Panama

for other crimes allegedly committed during his 1983-89 rule.

NI shoppers warned against scams Christmas shoppers in Northern Ireland have been warned to be on their guard against the top five retail scams. The Department of Enterprise’s

Trading Standards Service has issued the appeal. It said scams are estimated to cost NI

consumers £100m every year. This year’s top five festive scams

include fake credit providers promising fast loans online and “I’ve been robbed” emails asking for money.

Afghanistan hand over ‘on track’ Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said Britain is not trying to create a “perfect Afghanistan”. But he said plans to hand over

responsibility for security to the Afghan government by the end of 2014 were “on track”. He also confirmed military operations

in Libya had cost £212m – less than was estimated previously.

Courts to close Five courthouses across Northern Ireland could face closure within six months. The NI Courts and Tribunals Service

will launch a consultation seeking views on the permanent closure of five hearing centres. Those at risk are Magherafelt,

Strabane, Larne, Limavady and Bangor. The Courts Service said it was

operating in a challenging economic environment.

Nestle takeover approved Regulators in China have approved Nestle’s £1.1bn offer for sweets and snack maker Hsu Fu Chi International. Swiss food company Nestle made

the offer for a 60 per cent stake in the Singapore-listed Hsu Fu Chi in July. The approval comes a month after

the ministry of commerce cleared Yum Brand’s takeover of Little Sheep Group.

6 12 December 2011

Regeneration strategy announced

Exclusive Kate Shannon Staff Reporter

Te Scottish Government launched its new national regeneration strategy for Scotland today. It stated that the regeneration of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas and strengthening local communities are “key priorities”. Te strategy was created in a bid to bring together the various different localised plans and policies currently existing in Scotland. Speaking to Holyrood prior to the launch, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil said the Government felt “it was time to take stock and to have a national regeneration strategy that identified, at a national level, the key areas where we needed to focus our attention for the next 10 to 15 years”.

Te strategy itself boasts a number of impressive goals, including the vision of “a Scotland where our most disadvantaged communities are supported and where all places are sustainable and promote wellbeing”. However, this cannot be achieved unless regeneration is approached in a “holistic” way by addressing the economic, physical and social needs of Scotland’s communities. Neil said: “Tere are some

very clear lessons [from the past] we can learn on what makes a successful regeneration strategy and what doesn’t. For example, there has been a habit in the past for governments to appoint suits to go into areas of deprivation and for the suits to tell the local people what they need to do to regenerate their area. Tey then get consultants in to do it and then after a while, leave again, very often having not made much difference to the area. Te first lesson is the community itself has to drive the regeneration. It needs help, it needs outside expertise, it needs financial

resource but at the end of the day, no regeneration strategy that is not driven by the local community will succeed and the history of the last 40 or 50 years demonstrates that.” Among other issues, the strategy looks at transforming the future of our poorest places. It states: “In order to address the deeply ingrained economic, physical and social issues faced by some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities, a sustained and coordinated approach across the public sector and its partners is required, alongside an increased focus on community-led regeneration. “Ensuring that local delivery is effective is crucial. Local authorities are well placed to coordinate economic development and regeneration activity. Te Scottish Government is committed to supporting local authorities and will work with the Improvement Service and SLAED to implement the improvement guide for local authority economic development services.”

Alex Neil MSP

Community-led regeneration is also important, according to Neil and is at the heart of the strategy. It will be implemented in part by developing a new people and communities fund to support registered social landlords, community development trusts and other community organisations to deliver local outcomes and by introducing the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill to help support local people to unlock their potential for driving change on their own terms. Te strategy also emphasises the importance of realising the economic potential of Scotland’s communities through focused funding and other support mechanisms. Key funds have been brought together to form the Regeneration Investment Fund. Tis has different strands – SPRUCE, Scotland’s JESSICA fund; a £25m a year regeneration capital grant fund and the vacant and derelict land fund.

Read full interview on page 20

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