Letter: Assisted area status: North or South?

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Sir: I read with great interest your leading article and front-page story on assisted area status (2 March). Waltham Forest prepared the six east London boroughs' assisted area submission. This was a unique submission, since it involved close co-operation between six boroughs - Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Haringey, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest - and MPs from different political parties.

When the bid was submitted, the area had the second highest unemployment rate in Britain and the greatest concentration of unemployment in the UK. It is generally understood that until this bid was received neither London, nor any part of it, had been seriously considered for assisted area status.

Your 'London's unemployment' and 'Unemployment in Europe' articles highlight the very high unemployment levels in four of the boroughs, Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Our case, nevertheless, did not just rest on high unemployment. The submission emphasised the great opportunities, potential and challenges the east London area offers.

In particular, the designation of assisted area status for east London would be an essential stimulus to fostering economic growth, the regeneration of east London and facilitating the economic and urban regeneration of the Lea valley and east Thames corridor.

Yours faithfully,


Assistant Head

Planning and Economic Development Department

London Borough of Waltham Forest

London, E17

2 March