The new policy will bite only if it is backed by better incentives and grants to build well and offset the extra costs of brownfield sites. The funding could come from measures such as Civic Trust's proposals for a greenfield levy, which Mr Prescott is apparently considering.
Yet under present plans that Mr Prescott inherited from the Conservatives, his department's core spending programme for regeneration is actually planned to fall. This is now a nonsense. The Chancellor needs to show in the Budget that the whole Government is backing Mr Prescott's vision with a package of green taxes and other measures. Mr Prescott has responded to the national call for an urban focus; we must now also will the means to deliver to a high standard.