Writing in the Yorkshire Post today, I described what was wrong with typical regional policy and how to do it much better. I suggested doing effective, boring and unpopular stuff like moving workers to the work (not the other way round) with more low cost roads and buses and paying lower wages and benefits in poorer areas to increase employment. This would do so much more than taking a bet on low-return but glamorous infrastructure projects like high speed rail or shovelling taxpayer funds towards the latest fashionable industries – remember Scotland’s semiconductor industry?
It occurred to me later that much the same could be said about regeneration policies. Which brings me back to this event I covered for Planning IN London 5 years ago and a speech I gave to the British Urban Regeneration Association a couple of months later. Apart from big budget quangos of course, they generally share the fallacy of the Big Man – they know what’s best.
If only they did !