Tuesday, 31 March 2015

£100m to bring empty homes back into use

The Government has announced a £100 million fund to bring empty homes back into use as part of the comprehensive spending review.

In a letter sent to council leaders outlining the coalition government’s plans for reforming housing in the next four years, housing minister Grant Shapps gave details of the fund.

It comes as part of £6.5 billion of housing investment in housing by the department for Communities and Local Government. Of this, £4.5 billion would be for new affordable homes, the letter says.

David Ireland, chief executive of campaigning group Empty Homes, welcomed the decision to bring existing stock back into use, but noted that it would not be without its challenges.

‘The overall impact of the comprehensive spending review will mean that affordable homes will need to be provided more cheaply than before. We believe that bringing empty homes into use can provide good homes at low cost,’ he said.

‘Getting empty homes back is not easy. But this is a unique opportunity for councils, housing associations and community groups to bring their skills together to create new homes out of empty property.’

England has 762,000 empty homes. Plans to enable local authorities to bid for money from the Regional Growth Fund for capital projects that could support housing growth and housing market renewal were also included in the letter. More details are expected to be released soon.

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