New firms would aim to revive run-down inner cities

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Indy Politics

William Hague will today outline plans to revive Britain's most deprived areas as he seeks to convince the voters that there are no "no go areas" for his party.

William Hague will today outline plans to revive Britain's most deprived areas as he seeks to convince the voters that there are no "no go areas" for his party.

A Tory policy blueprint will propose setting up "regeneration companies" to breathe new life into the inner cities.

They would act as the catalyst to ensure the creation of "partner schools" run by the private sector, charities, voluntary and religious groups or parents and teachers, which would either take over failing state schools or build new ones.

Mr Hague, who will disclose his plans at a press conference in Bournemouth, is expected to say that a "blitz" involving several Whitehall departments will be needed to improve education, health, housing and crime-fighting in the inner cities. He is due to add that the most important task is to stop the exodus of middle income families to the suburbs and countryside.

The decision to announce plans to assist run-down areas is a deliberate attempt by Mr Hague to broaden his party's appeal following criticism from Tory moderates that his policies were aimed more at the party's activists than the voters.

In his speech, Mr Hague will say: "I believe we are ready to be the Government because we are ready to govern for all the people, and that means tackling the problems of our inner cities. It is time to be ambitious for our inner cities and turn them into places where people can both afford to live and genuinely want to live."

The Tory blueprint has been drawn up by Archie Norman, the shadow environment secretary and former boss of the Asda supermarket chain.

He wants the regeneration companies to draw most of their staff from the private sector to bring fresh ideas to tackling the deprived estates.

The companies would raise funds from the private sector for regeneration projects and new school buildings.

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