£2 billion paid out in new homes bonus
Councils have received more than £2 billion of reward funding through the government’s flagship building incentive scheme, the new homes bonus.
Housing minister Kris Hopkins today published figures showing that England’s 353 councils received the sum for delivering 550,000 homes.
Of these, 160,000 were affordable homes, and 93,000 were empty properties brought back into use.
The new homes bonus, introduced in 2010, rewards councils financially for every new home built in their area. The government matches the council tax raised from new homes built for six years.
The policy is intended to incentivise communities to support development because they will be rewarded with extra community investment. Councils can use the funding for whatever they want.
Mr Hopkins said: ‘Councils have received over £2 billion for their part in getting Britain building, and leading to housing construction reaching its highest levels for seven 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.’
Labour has criticised the policy, saying it disproportionately favours wealthier areas.
An Inside Housing survey of every English council last summer found six in 10 local authorities are stockpiling new homes bonus cash rather than spending it on specific projects.