Funding boost to create new county housing

Kris Hopkins at a housing development
Kris Hopkins at a housing development

Councils in Lancashire are due to receive a £16.5 million bonus next year for enabling nearly 9,500 new homes to be built in the county, the government has announced.

Across England, councils have received more than £2bn through the New Homes Bonus since it was set up in 2011/12 for helping to provide 550,000 more homes.

The allocation for 2014/15 means Lancashire will have received £36.7 million over a four year period for helping to provide 9,490 newly-built homes and conversions, and bringing 2,781 empty homes back into use.

Wyre Council is set to receive £1,193,222 next year, with the Ribble Valley due to be handed £576,563.

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

Under the New Homes Bonus, councils have been rewarded for helping to provide 550,000 newly-built homes and conversions and bringing 93,000 empty homes back into use.

This total includes over 160,000 affordable homes to help younger people get on to the property ladder.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said these payments are finally 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.

Mr Hopkins 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 official statistics show are 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.”