€2.5bn for urban renewal is ‘recycled’ cash

Commitments to invest €2.5bn extra in 40 priority urban renewal areas over the coming 10 years are coming unstuck because the cash is not being made available and old projects are being recycled, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

The paper says insiders estimate the real annual investment by housing corporations is between zero and €50m.
Urban affairs minister Ella Vogelaar signed a deal with Aedes, the housing corporation umbrella group, in September committing the housing associations to invest a total €2.5bn in renovating run-down areas over 10 years.
But local authorities responsible for the 40 priority areas have to negotiate individually with the corporations to get the cash.
And in many areas, the paper says, councils are accepting the recycling of ‘old’ spending plans under the Vogelaar banner.
Rotterdam city council, for example, claims it is spending €88m a year but that includes a €1bn urban improvement plan drawn up in 2006, the paper claims.
‘Minister Vogelaar has awakened too high expectations,’ said a spokesman for an Arnhem housing corporation. ‘But everyone must share the blame, including the councils who just stood there nodding because they hoped to get lots more money.’
‘In practice, much of Vogelaar’s €2.5bn is making existing deals concrete,’ property specialist Piet Klop from accountancy Deloitte told the paper.
Vogelaar is to give more details on how the projects are being financed in February. ‘The deal I made with Aedes is that this must involve new money,’ she told Radio 1 on Friday morning.

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