UK - Private sector needed for Thames Gateway, says Miliband

Minister of Communities and Local Government David Miliband launched the Thames Gateway Forum today with a call for public and private partnerships to help create a "public sector Greenfield."

Opening the annual two day exhibition at London's Excel centre, the minister said that the government and institutions involved in Western Europe's largest regeneration project should learn lessons from the past by combining economy, public services, environment and design, and civic pride.

Through this he is encouraging private sector investment to unlock commercial and community facilities. "This is why the two Development Corporations, English Partnerships and the Regional Development Agencies are focused on removing the barriers to private investment," he said. The first of which is a government investment towards the new Medway Innovation Centre, which is being developed in partnership with BAE.

Further private sector investment to be explored is to improve the transport links of places like Barking Riverside, Kent Thameside and Thurrock. In the longer term, Miliband mentioned strategic access to London, the rest of Europe and Crossrail which is currently being taken through Parliament.

Lastly, the minister welcomed the reform of public services in the area as a foundation of "economic strength in an economy based on people". To achieve these aims the ODPM, through a Strategic Framework to be announced next year, will find new ways to bring together public, private and voluntary sectors.