France launches €5bn bid to save poor estates

France launches €5bn bid to save poor estates
French President François Hollande on a trip to the poor Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois this week. Photo: Jacques Brinon/AFP
The latest attempt by a French government to rescue the country’s deprived housing estates was put before the cabinet on Friday. President François Hollande hopes €5billion of investment will help put an end to the recent outbreaks of street violence.

The last job of France’s government ministers before they left en vacances was not a straightforward task.

On the table was the latest initiative by a French government to rescue France’s poor suburban housing estates or “banlieues” that are stricken by high unemployment, crime and regular outbreaks of violence.

French President François Hollande wants to hand over €5billion worth of investment that would be directed into creating jobs, improving housing and overall urban renewal.

Just two weeks after the poor Paris suburban town of Trappes went up in flames after clashes between youths and police, the Minister for Urban Areas François Lamy presented his bill to the cabinet on Friday.

The legislation he said “would reform the tools of urban policy” and will streamline funding into the country’s worse off neighbourhoods. The new list of priority areas will be announced in October, around the same time Lamy’s bill will be put before France’s lower house – the National Assembly.

Regional and local governments that are home to France’s poorer estates will be hoping to get their hands on the some of the cash to invest in their areas.

The desperate state of France’s housing estates was brought to global attention in 2005 when riots spread across the country following the deaths of two youths, after a police chase in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

Hollande returned to Clichy, where the unemployment rate stands at 22.3 percent, on Wednesday eager to show that the “banlieue” were his priority.

The president has stressed his priority is finding employment for the thousands of disaffected youths. He visit to Clichy was to promote his “emplois francs”

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