Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80-83)



  80. The Commission has basically said no, though, has it not, so is it not better then to turn to the European approach?
  (Ms Havers) Not necessarily. I think that the Commission might have said no on perhaps works in mainland Europe. What works in France and Italy quite possibly will not work in Wolverhampton or Milton Keynes.

Dr Pugh

  81. Why not?
  (Ms Havers) Because, as I mentioned before, I think the structure and the tradition is different.

  82. It is a matter of tradition?
  (Ms Havers) Not just that, but I think there are more resources in Europe for the public sector to become involved. I do not think the public sector, in my view, is equipped to become involved in really quite complex physical regeneration in inner cities in the UK. I do not think the land ownership and the funding structures lend themselves to that.


  83. Do you want to add anything, Mr Chetwyn?
  (Mr Chetwyn) Yes, on that point. The THI area includes a number of different companies and organisations, and the land ownership is quite complex. To do that it would mean compulsory purchasing or purchasing through agreement on sites from the companies and again them losing control, to other issues of who would fund that, how would the acquisitions be funded. Obviously if you are looking at that level of acquisition it becomes horrendously complicated in terms of administration and legal work issues. Also the companies have ideas as to what they want to do. They are developing their own projects. They know where their markets lie. I feel that it is really a matter of public/private partnership. It is that which the state aid issue is preventing. Generally on that point, the development industry in Britain is much more privately based than in certain other countries. I think there is no doubt really that the current situation on state aid places us at a competitive disadvantage.

  Chairman: On that note, can I thank you very much for your evidence.

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