Deputy prime minister John Prescott announces a new investment fund for Kent, Essex and London and launches a new delivery body.

The government is to provide £100m for new libraries, sports centres and arts venues in the Thames Gateway.

The funding package will also contribute towards new schools, business opportunities, health, training centres, nature parks and sustainable transport links.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott said: “This investment will help local ommunities to enjoy a better quality of life in places that are attractive, prosperous, and welcoming.”

The government also said it had set up a Thames Gateway Delivery Unit, which would be based in the Thames Gateway area and would drive development.

The £100m will be spent in London, Kent and Essex. Projects include £12m for land acquisition and remediation in Northfleet, Kent; £2m to fund environmental projects including the new Nevenden Country Park at Basildon; and £14.08m to acquire land in London.

The ODPM said the investment is in addition to the £446m announced by Prescott in February 2003.