HARTLEPOOL is set to benefit from a £1.3m cash boost from central Government for helping to build and bring empty homes back into use.
The Government’s New Homes Bonus is designed as an incentive to local authorities for providing new homes and businesses and provides a cash bonus when a new home is first occupied.
Hartlepool Borough Council has been awarded a total allocation of £1,332,560 for the next financial year, which included bringing 18 empty homes back into use, with North East authorities receiving a total of almost £30m.
Council leader, Christopher Akers-Belcher, said the funding has already been built into the 2014-15 budget and is not “new money”,
Coun Akers-Belcher added: “This is not new money from the Government but rather giving some back from the money they have took from grant funding.
“We are still facing a 39 per cent reduction in funding over a four year period.”
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said communities across the country will be rewarded for helping deliver more than half a million homes across the country.
Nationally, a total of £900m will be shared among England’s 353 councils.
Mr Hopkins said: “We will continue to pay the bonus in the future to ensure that places that have built houses are properly rewarded for doing so.”
Stephen Williams, Communities Minister, said: “I’m delighted to see the numbers of empty homes going down by 38,000 over the past year alone. The 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.”
Since the New Homes Bonus began in 2011, councils have received funding for delivering 550,000 newly-built homes and conversions, including more than 160,000 affordable homes, and for bringing 93,000 empty homes back into use.
These final allocations, announced today, bring the total given to councils across the country since the scheme’s launch to over £2bn.