Urban policy has been accorded a high priority by the post 1987 Conservative government. The document entitled 'ACTION FOR CITIES', published in March 1988 is important both for its review of government policies pursued since 1979, and its emphasis on the key policy measures that will characterise urban policy in Britain into the 1990s. This paper will outline the main assumptions lying behind the policies outlined in 'ACTION FOR CITIES' and consider how far such initiatives constitute a viable approach to urban regeneration. The argument propounded will be that far from constituting a rational or co ordinated policy response, the policies described in ACTION FOR CITIES are more influenced by political and ideological considerations. The undermining of the urban power base of the Labour party and the transformation of the social composition of the inner city are seen as being more in tune with present government objectives than a concerted attack on the economic and social problems facing Britain's cities.