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Building work delivers councils £2bn in new homes bonus pay-outs

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Building work delivers councils £2bn in new homes bonus pay-outs

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Finance, Local Government

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English councils have been awarded over £2 billion through the new homes bonus in return for delivering 550,000 new homes.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins revealed the details of the latest payments made to England’s 353 councils in recognition of their contribution to creating new housing.

Figures last week from the Official for National Statistics showed that housing construction has risen to its highest levels since 2007.

Under the government scheme, councils have been rewarded for delivering 550,000 newly-built homes and conversions and brought 93,000 empty homes back into use. The total also includes over 160,000 affordable homes.

The new homes bonus is an incentive designed to reward councils and communities for helping to build more homes by match-funding the additional council tax raised by new homes and empty properties brought back into use for six years – with extra funding for new affordable homes.

Hopkins said the bonus payments are giving communities a reason to say yes to new sustainable development – with councils free to spend the money as they see fit to benefit the local area, including freezing council tax.

The minister said: “Top-down regional strategies and eco-towns failed hardworking families who aspired to own their own home, and built nothing but resentment.

“In stark contrast, councils have received over £2bn for their part in getting Britain building, and leading to housing construction reaching its highest levels for seven years.

“And they are free to spend the money any way they like to benefit their local communities – whether that’s supporting frontline services, providing new facilities or freezing council tax.”

Communities Minister Stephen Williams also welcomed the number of empty homes being brought back into productive use. He said: "The government is doing everything possible to tackle the problem of empty homes and urban blight, and the new homes bonus is a shot in the arm for councils tackling the problem of abandoned homes and urban blight locally.

“The number of long term empty homes has already fallen by 93,000 and we are now going further, giving councils the incentive to bring people, shops and jobs back to once abandoned areas, and to provide extra affordable homes we so badly need."

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