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Councils and communities that have welcomed growth in their area are getting a major boost to their spending power, Housing Minister Mark Prisk announced.

The Minister published the final allocation of cash payouts worth £668million through the New Homes Bonus, which will be shared by England’s 353 councils.

The funding will reward councils for delivering over 142,000 new homes, including 58,000 affordable properties, and bringing almost 18,000 long-term empty properties back into use.

Mr Prisk said that encouraging growth was a positive way for councils to raise revenue for their local community. The cash payments are rewarding councils from all parts of the country, with almost a third of the top 30 recipients in the Midlands and the North.

Payments through scheme reach £1.3 billion

Today’s final allocation, to be paid in the 2013-14 financial year, means councils will have received £1.3billion through the New Homes Bonus since its launch in April 2011.

This total recognises over 400,000 new builds and conversions, and over 55,000 empty properties that are being lived in once again.

Through the New Homes Bonus the Government matches the council tax raised from new homes for the six years. The bonus is also available for reducing the number of long-term empty homes, and there is an additional £350 annual premium for new affordable homes.

Councils should work with their local community to decide how the bonus is spent: whether building more homes, keeping council tax down for local residents, boosting frontline services like rubbish collection or providing local facilities like swimming pools and leisure centres.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:

“This country needs to build more homes, and that’s why the Government is giving communities a reason to say “yes” to growth through the New Homes Bonus.

“We’re backing those councils that build the homes people need.  This brings the New Homes Bonus to £1.3bn, and is a direct result of 142,000 homes being built, plus a further 18,000 long term empty homes being brought back into use.  That’s good news for councils, communities and families”.

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