Headlines: August 11th, 2010

In a move to reverse housebuilding decline a New Homes Bonus scheme will be introduced in the Autumn. Councils who take action now to give planning consent and support the construction of new homes where they are needed and wanted will receive direct benefit for their actions.

Housebuilding has been declining over the past few years and is at its lowest peacetime level since 1924. Taking action to address this is a priority for the Government. Housing Minister Grant Shapps is urging councils to open up an honest and direct debate with the communities they serve about the benefits of building new homes in their area, rather than focusing on the costs of development.

The Government wants to hear the views of councils, communities and industry as it finalises the scheme. A consultation paper on the final scheme will be published following the spending review.

The extra funding from the Bonus scheme can be spent on council tax discounts for local residents, boosting frontline services like rubbish collection or improving local facilities like playgrounds.

In a letter to councils the Minister also confirmed that the Government is working on business rate reforms to encourage economic development, as well as reforming the Community Infrastructure Levy to provide an even clearer incentive to develop.