The Regeneration Game

Monday 2nd June 2014

Finance Secretary John Swinney was in town last week. Unfortunately this was not a visit to announce new jobs or investment for Inverclyde. Rather Mr Swinney was here to talk about the referendum.

This would have come as a real disappointment to many who are all too aware of the economic challenges we face locally. One of the principal challenges is how we continue to regenerate Inverclyde.

We have been participants in the regeneration game for some time now with our partners, and indeed, we have achieved some success. Essential to that success has been the commitment of government and the financial support that they and their agencies have provided.

However, if we have been winners in the past, we are beginning to feel like losers now. And this despite the government stating that reversing economic, physical and social decline of communities where market forces alone won’t suffice is a top priority. And indeed, Mr Swinney in his previous visit to Inverclyde recognised the areas potential to attract renewable jobs and expand our tourism sector. Sadly none of this has come to pass.

If the government was serious about bringing economic growth to Inverclyde then it wouldn’t have pulled funding from the urban regeneration company, cut the local college budget and the housing budget, all of which has disproportionally impacted negatively on our community.

There is no getting away from it, long term commitment and resources from government are essential in any regeneration partnership and will ultimately decide whether Inverclyde will be a winner or a loser in the regeneration game.