The proposals mirrored those put forward by chancellor Gordon Brown, who made similar pledges for his pre-Budget report at the Labour conference in Brighton last week.
He set out his proposals Believing in our cities at the start of the Tories’ Bournemouth Conference where he has pledged a ‘Conservative Party for all the people’.
Hague said there had been a huge exodus from the cities as middle class families moved out, putting pressure on the green belt.
Tackling problems in inner urban areas and regenerating would be a way of dealing with both problems.
At the centre of the effort will be ‘regeneration companies’ which, Hague said, ‘would drive forward the renewal of our major cities in every urban area that needs special assistance’.
‘These will be powerful new bodies designed to attract private finance and will be headed by people with significant private sector expertise’.
Hague did not speak about the tax changes which would underwrite the initiative, but an aide said: ‘We recognise that the urban problem cannot be solved by social programmes and voluntary aid alone. Real incentives for private sector involvement and self-help are critical.’
‘The next Conservative government will encourage the tax system to work for us, not against us.’
It is understood one vehicle which shadow chancellor Michael Portillo has in mind, is to extend the enterprise tax shelter for investment in designated areas.
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