Deputy prime minister John Prescott this week launched his £22bn plan for regeneration funding for the next three years.
Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future promises £685m in PFI funding to refurbish local authority housing, and confirms that £500m will be made available to tackle derelict housing in nine "pathfinder" areas in the North.

Prescott confirms that urban development corporations – which have special planning powers and access to government funding – will be used to develop the Thames Gateway, as revealed in Building last month.

A committee headed by prime minister Tony Blair will examine the development of Thames Gateway.

We are working for the establishment of new mechanisms that will use UDC powers

John Prescott’s Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future

The plan says: "We are working with partners towards the establishment of new mechanisms, which will use UDC powers."

The government promises to invest £446m in the Gateway over three years, with £164m earmarked for the other designated growth areas of Ashford, Stansted and Milton Keynes.

Stephen Joseph, deputy chief executive of the Thames Gateway London Partnership, welcomed the moves. He said: "This indicates the importance of the South-east, and particularly the Thames Gateway, to central government thinking."

English Partnerships and the regional development agencies have also been promised the financial muscle to reclaim 1400 ha of derelict land each year to fuel redevelopment.