We do think this is a very odd thing to be complaining about. Then again, it's from ResPublica, who do tend to complain about odd things.
The problem is that Heseltine’s panel has, on average, just £1.4m for each initiative it supports. To put that into context, the first phase of regeneration of Sheffield’s Park Hill estate required £39m of public funding and redevelopment of the Castle Vale estate in Birmingham was made possible by £198m of government support.
The current onus on commercial viability is likely to mean densifying estates and using new home sales to fund wider redevelopment. There is a real danger that this will entrench the north-south divide, leaving behind those places outside London and the south-east where redevelopment of this kind is not commercially viable, or where bricks and mortar regeneration is not the answer to concentrations of multiple disadvantage.
"Commercially viable" is just another way of saying effective, or efficient. So, the complaint is that government is gearing up to spend our money in an effective or efficient manner. Which really is an odd thing to be complaining about.
We are aware of how taxation works - we raise it where we can, spend it where we must. It is not true that tax raised in London, by far and away the major tax paying area of the country, should be spent in London. But that "must" in where we spend it means that it should be spent where it produces the most value.
And that means, if we're going to be talking about buildings, we spend the money where the valuable ones are - in London. This way we get the most bang for our buck, pop for our pound.
Another way to look at the same point is to note that there are parts of the country where people simply do not care to live. Well, OK, the people have spoken, what's the point therefore of spending fortunes of other peoples' money on places where people do not wish to live?