New fund is aimed at kickstarting £7bn of investment in eight major conurbations in the North as new report recommends faster demolition of blighted homes.

The government is set to increase the rate at which low demand homes are demolished in the North of England.

The blighted homes should be replaced by schemes that include targets for affordable housing, according to a report by the government taskgroup Northern Way.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott today announced a £100m strategy fund to help implement the recommendations of the Northern Way report Moving Forward.

The growth fund is intended to help the three Northern regional development agencies to create more jobs, investment and opportunities for the 15 million people living in the area. The government said that One NorthEast, Yorkshire Forward and the Northwest Development Agency will use the £100m strategy fund to maximise the impact of £7bn investment already earmarked for the North.

The report also recommendation that the eight major conurbations of the north should have city region growth strategies. The eight areas are Greater Manchester, Leeds, Merseyside, Central Lancashire, Sheffield, Tyne and Wear, Tees Valley and Hull and the Humber.

Sir Graham Hall, chairman of the Northern Way steering group said: “We have set a vision for 2025 of a new North with great, contemporary cities, each at the heart of vibrant city region surrounded by magnificent landscapes, rivers and coasts.”