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Issue:- 20 December 2013


CouncilS in Merseyside are due to receive a £12.8 million bonus next year for enabling more than 4,500 new homes to be built in the county, the government has announced.

Across England, Councils have received over £2 billion 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 Merseyside will have received £29.6 million over a four year period for helping to provide 4,677 newly-built homes and conversions, and bringing 5,520 empty homes back into use. These figures also include 3,502 affordable homes.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has published details of the latest New Homes Bonus payments being made to England's 353 Councils, in recognition of their contribution to building new homes. 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.

Mr Hopkins said these payments are finally giving communities a reason to say yes to new sustainable developmen; with Councils free to spend the money as they see fit to benefit the local area, including freezing Council tax.  Housing Minister Kris 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 £2 billion for their part in getting Britain building, and leading to housing construction reaching its highest levels for 7 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."

The New Homes Bonus is a powerful, simple and transparent incentive designed to reward Councils and communities for helping to build more homes. It match funds the additional Council tax raised for new homes and empty properties brought back into use for 6 years; with extra funding for new affordable homes.

Councils across the country have made the most of this additional funding to ensure their communities directly see the benefits of growth in their areas.

A full list of provisional allocations of New Homes Bonus for the 2014-15 financial year can be found online.

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