Councils handed Government cash for building homes

TOWN halls across the region were handed almost £9m of government cash yesterday as a "reward" for providing an extra 6,500 new homes.

But North-East council leaders have already protested the grants are a drop in the ocean next to the whopping £275m that will be swiped from their housing budgets by the end of the decade.

And the figures revealed that in some areas - Middlesbrough, Gateshead, South Tyneside and, in North Yorkshire, Craven and Richmondshire - the number of empty homes is on the rise.

The row blew up after the latest allocations were made from the flagship 'New Homes Bonus', designed to hand a direct incentive to councils to build badly-needed new homes.

The largest sum went to County Durham council (£2.25m), for building 988 new homes in the year to October 2012 and for bringing a further 769 vacant homes back into use.

Large grants, for 2013-14, also went to Newcastle (£0.95m), Stockton-on-Tees (£0.93m) and York (£0.6m), the department for communities and local government (DCLG) announced.

But other authorities received much smaller amounts, including Darlington (£0.29m), Middlesbrough (£0.35m), Hambleton (£0.2m) and Richmondshire (£0.24m).

Councils are able to spend the cash on improving local services, such as building playgrounds or bus subsidies, or even on reducing council tax.

They will also receive the latest instalments of bonus payments first made in previous years, which means local authorities across England will have been handed a total of £1.3bn since April 2011.

Mark Prisk, the housing minister, said: "For years, developers found themselves at loggerheads with communities unconvinced that their plans for growth would benefit them. But the New Homes Bonus is turning this around.

"Local people are able to see the rewards of new developments in their area - paving the way for thousands of much-needed, locally-supported homes to be delivered across the country."

But the policy is hugely-controversial, because the New Homes Bonus is funded from the scrapping of near-£1bn annual grants for new housing.

Furthermore, the scheme offers higher bonuses to councils building large, expensive homes - built, predominantly, in the South.

They receive a sum matching the amount of council tax received from that property - which means a higher sum for larger, more costly homes - although there is a £350 top-up for each affordable home.

Last month, the Association of North East Councils (ANEC) pointed to the New Homes Bonus among "stealth" cuts that would cost the region an estimated £100m next year.

It raised the alarm over an extra £500m pumped into the scheme - because it was paid for by cutting other grants for new housing, benefiting the South at the expense of the North to the tune of £275m by 2018-19.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:09pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Savant_NE says...

Quote :But other authorities received much smaller amounts, including Darlington (£0.29m), Middlesbrough (£0.35m), Hambleton (£0.2m) and Richmondshire (£0.24m). >>>> What a laugh,how many council houses can they build with that.If the council has to look at other income streams to fill the gap caused by the cuts,thats not going to make a dent.I can understand the need to build Council Housing again,for one thing it will probably make sure Housing Benefit goes from the DWP to the Council coffers to ensure Council Tax can be maintained at lower levels and not just go to private landlords.But £250,000 isn't going to allow them to do that.
Quote :But other authorities received much smaller amounts, including Darlington (£0.29m), Middlesbrough (£0.35m), Hambleton (£0.2m) and Richmondshire (£0.24m). >>>> What a laugh,how many council houses can they build with that.If the council has to look at other income streams to fill the gap caused by the cuts,thats not going to make a dent.I can understand the need to build Council Housing again,for one thing it will probably make sure Housing Benefit goes from the DWP to the Council coffers to ensure Council Tax can be maintained at lower levels and not just go to private landlords.But £250,000 isn't going to allow them to do that. Savant_NE
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Spy Boy says...

£0.29 million for Darlington ! Wow. That's 2 whole houses. Big deal.
£0.29 million for Darlington ! Wow. That's 2 whole houses. Big deal. Spy Boy
  • Score: 0

6:16am Tue 11 Dec 12

Paul Palmer says...

OR, 0.29 mill is 29 grants of 10k each to bring 29 empty homes back into use, granted not a lot, but another 6k per property in New Homes Bonus as empty homes brought back into use also counts, OR it is funding for more empty homes officers or enforcement officers to tackle empty homes, OR it is seed money to help set up some local community driven housing co-ops who are good at bringing empty homes back into use, OR, www.emptyhomesuk.co.
uk....
OR, 0.29 mill is 29 grants of 10k each to bring 29 empty homes back into use, granted not a lot, but another 6k per property in New Homes Bonus as empty homes brought back into use also counts, OR it is funding for more empty homes officers or enforcement officers to tackle empty homes, OR it is seed money to help set up some local community driven housing co-ops who are good at bringing empty homes back into use, OR, www.emptyhomesuk.co. uk.... Paul Palmer
  • Score: 0

11:14am Tue 11 Dec 12

the-big-yin says...

its a farce.....the money is not going to be used to build council houses for council tenants....it is going to be used to provide so called affordable housing...now thats a joke...
its a farce.....the money is not going to be used to build council houses for council tenants....it is going to be used to provide so called affordable housing...now thats a joke... the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

4:32pm Tue 11 Dec 12

Hunty1 says...

Why dont the playgrounds etc claim money from the Durham Community Foundation to repair playground equipment etc, surely if the council handed the ownership of gardens and playgrounds to the community centers or village hall etc then they would be able to claim funding that is sitting in accounts waiting to serve it's community?? or even the Banks community funds it's all there waiting to be spent... just saying it would be a worthwhile cause and would create good community spirit and even jobs! Think the council needs to look at its costs of looking after plots and seeing if it isn't worthwhile handing over??
Why dont the playgrounds etc claim money from the Durham Community Foundation to repair playground equipment etc, surely if the council handed the ownership of gardens and playgrounds to the community centers or village hall etc then they would be able to claim funding that is sitting in accounts waiting to serve it's community?? or even the Banks community funds it's all there waiting to be spent... just saying it would be a worthwhile cause and would create good community spirit and even jobs! Think the council needs to look at its costs of looking after plots and seeing if it isn't worthwhile handing over?? Hunty1
  • Score: 0

4:33pm Tue 11 Dec 12

Hunty1 says...

Paul Palmer wrote:
OR, 0.29 mill is 29 grants of 10k each to bring 29 empty homes back into use, granted not a lot, but another 6k per property in New Homes Bonus as empty homes brought back into use also counts, OR it is funding for more empty homes officers or enforcement officers to tackle empty homes, OR it is seed money to help set up some local community driven housing co-ops who are good at bringing empty homes back into use, OR, www.emptyhomesuk.co.

uk....
Exactly!
[quote][p][bold]Paul Palmer[/bold] wrote: OR, 0.29 mill is 29 grants of 10k each to bring 29 empty homes back into use, granted not a lot, but another 6k per property in New Homes Bonus as empty homes brought back into use also counts, OR it is funding for more empty homes officers or enforcement officers to tackle empty homes, OR it is seed money to help set up some local community driven housing co-ops who are good at bringing empty homes back into use, OR, www.emptyhomesuk.co. uk....[/p][/quote]Exactly! Hunty1
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree