Councils are being rewarded for building new homes and bringing empty homes back into use under a new initiative announced by the Liberal Democrat communities minister. Andrew Stunnell MP has revealed the cash boost each local authority in England would receive from the New Homes Bonus. The announcement follows the local action being taken by Cllr Ann Holtom and local Lib Dems to support the Channel 4 campaign "The Great British property scandal" which highlights the need to bring empty homes back into use.
In Birmingham, according to Mr Stunnell's announcement, the Coalition government has given £7.4 for delivering 1,100 new homes and for the bringing back into use of 1,300 empty properties. Many other local authorities have also benefitted from the scheme.
Local Lib Dem campaigner Cllr Ann Holtom believes the New Homes Bonus is acting as a spur to encourage councils into building new homes and renovating empty ones. Cllr Holtom said: "The Great British Property Scandal programmes have shown the poor housing legacy left to the nation by the previous Labour government. They have highlighted a clear need, not just for more new homes but for urgent action to be taken on bringing empty ones back into use. Now the Liberal Democrats in government have abandoned Labour's old top-down approach to building homes. It was unrealistic, it didn't work and it didn't take local needs sufficiently into account. Rather, the New Homes Bonus is creating a culture change - making it easier to persuade local people to go for redevelopment and rewarding communities that go for growth."