This Strategy responds to the challenges faced by our most disadvantaged communities to help create a Scotland where all places are sustainable, and where people want to live, work and invest.
Regeneration of Scotland's most disadvantaged areas and strengthening of local communities are key priorities for the Scottish Government. Our commitment to ensuring equality of opportunity and support for the places and people that need it underpins our approach to regeneration. This is not a new commitment. But the time is right to reaffirm it.
Across Scotland there has been a significant amount of investment in regeneration over many years. There has been some notable success in supporting and transforming our communities for the better. But it hasn't been enough. Too many of Scotland's people still live in communities suffering the effects of deprivation and disadvantage. Where too many people are not in work and have low educational attainment, where crime and fear of crime is too high, where the physical environment is still poor, and where people still die far younger than their fellow Scots. This Regeneration Strategy will reinvigorate efforts to change that.
Achieving regeneration outcomes is made even more challenging in the current economic climate. The economic downturn and constraints on public sector resources pose an even greater challenge, with Scotland's most disadvantaged communities facing issues of worklessness and reduced economic opportunities. Our response across Scotland must take account of this.
This Strategy does not seek to radically change viable development models, but instead looks to build on previous success and encourage innovative ways of working where this can support progress. Key to our success will be:
- a focus on reforming the way in which mainstream resources are used to support vulnerable communities
- a stronger focus on community-led regeneration
- realising the economic potential of Scotland's communities through focussed funding and other support mechanisms.
This Strategy makes no assumptions about the future economic circumstances of Scotland. What it does is provide a flexible framework through which collectively we can identify the assets and needs of communities - whatever the economic circumstance - in order to tailor our responses accordingly.
I am committed to the successful implementation of this Strategy and to working with partners to review progress and make amendments to the approach as required.
Together we must ensure that all of Scotland's communities are sustainable and promote well-being and that, in the pursuit of sustainable economic growth for Scotland, no-one is left behind.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment