Cash back! Manchester pockets £35million from government scheme for fight against empty home blight

By Tim Hyde

Greater Manchester is set to pocket £35million from a home-building scheme to reward the thousands of new affordable homes that have been built across the county.

The borough has been allocated a chunk of the £900million New Homes Bonus payment which is shared among England’s 353 councils.

Greater Manchester will receive £35.1million from the payment – the largest allocation of funds from the New Homes Bonus payment in the North West.

Research shows that house-building levels are at their highest since 2007 and, with the additional funding, numbers are expected to rise.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “The New Homes Bonus lets local people share in the benefits of development, with councils free to spend the money to benefit their local area.

“And getting Britain building in this way is critical to our long-term economic plan, not only building the homes communities need but creating thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships across the country.

“We will continue to pay the bonus in the future to ensure that places that have built houses are properly rewarded for doing so.”

The scheme gives councils the freedom to spend the money as they wish and allows them to finance new property projects as well as refurbishing homes that aren’t fit for use.

The North West is set to receive more than £84million in funding which the government hope will help offset the council tax which was raised for new homes and empty homes.

New figures released by the National House Building Council have revealed that housing supply in 2013 has increased by 28% compared to the previous year.

The scheme, which began in 2011, has already helped provide 550,000 newly-built homes across the UK – which includes 160,000 affordable properties.

The allocations bring the total given to councils since the scheme’s launch to over £2billion.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “I’m delighted to see the numbers of empty homes going down by 38,000 over the past year alone. Today’s New Homes Bonus payments are in recognition of council-led efforts to make this happen.

“But I want councils to go even further, and use the range of powers we’ve put in their hands to end the blight of empty properties in our neighbourhoods and bring them back into productive use for the families who need the stability and security new homes can provide.”

Image courtesy of Gene Hunt, with thanks

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