Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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More affordable housing for communities

More affordable housing for communities

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (198) issued by The Government News Network on 26 October 2007

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper today announced a new drive to deliver more affordable housing by bringing empty homes back into use and giving more cash to communities who are building more homes.

The Minister set out the announcements in a consultation on a £510 million pot to support councils and communities who are working to deliver new homes. This money is in addition to the £10.2 billion investment in affordable housing over the next 3 years set out last week.

The announcements include:

* New rules and incentives so only councils with robust strategies for reducing the numbers of empty homes will have access to the funding.

* Extra cash for communities that are doing most to support more homes in their area. In areas where the number of homes is increasing by more than 0.75% a year of the total stock, councils could get an extra £1,100 from the government for every additional home, on top of infrastructure funding and developer contributions. Support could rise from £1,100 to £5,000 per home by 2010/11.

* Consulting on whether there could be higher rates of grant for family homes compared to smaller properties.

* Clarification that outdated regional housing targets should not be treated as a ceiling on local authorities who want to build more. Some councils claim that they have been prevented from granting planning permission for more homes because out dated regional targets have been regarded as a ceiling on the number of homes in the area.

* More cash for councils who are identifying good sites for more homes. Councils who have set out a 5 year plan of good sites for homes, and have consulted with local communities on plans for 15 years into the future will get more funding.

The announcements were made in a new consultation on the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant. They form part of the Government's plans to ensure we build the homes future generations need - the Prime Minister has set an ambition of 3 million more homes to be built by 2020.

The funding is part of a new incentive package to encourage councils and communities to do more to support affordable housing, and to ensure that those areas doing their bit should properly benefit.

Yvette Cooper said:

"We need to provide more homes for the first time buyers and families of this and future generations. That's why we pledged £8 billion of investment for more affordable and social homes. We want to give more support to communities and councils who are doing their bit to deliver the extra housing needed, including bringing more empty homes back into use."

The Government will make clear to councils they should also have strategies in place to bring more empty homes back into use in order to be able to access the funding. This includes the following action:-

* Working with property owners to find solutions to allow their properties to be brought back into use

* Offering incentives ranging from advice on selling and letting property to grants and leasing arrangements

* As a last resort the use of empty management dwelling orders to manage homes where other measures have failed.

Notes to Editors

1. The consultation on the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant (HPDG) can be found at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/deliverygrantallocation

2. The HPDG supersedes the Planning Delivery Grant which provided additional funding as a reward for councils who had speeded up their planning decisions.

3. The HPDG will be targeted at the areas across the country where housing growth is a priority.

4. The Government set out its commitment to build 3 million green new homes by 2020, and provide additional funding to accelerate the rate of housebuilding across the country in the Housing Green Paper, published on 23 July. Further details can be found here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingsupply/homesforfuture

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 4400;
News Releases: http://www.communities.gov.uk

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