Government gives £145m to tackle empty homes
Government sets aside £145m to bring thousands of homes back into use, communities minister Andrew Stunell announced today (29 May).
Twenty councils will each receive a slice of £60m to tackle clusters of empty homes.
Voluntary and community groups across the country will receive more than £25m to tackle individual empty properties in their area.
Andrew Stunell, communities minister, said: “The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace - for every two families that need a home there is one standing empty.
“Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing.
“I am delighted to announce this funding boost today that will allow councils and community groups to bring these houses back to life and offer families a chance of a stable and secure home.
“We need to do much more to tackle this problem. This government is breathing life back into these neglected neighbourhoods.”
Previous announcements have seen £70m allocated to bring empty homes back into use as affordable housing, the appointment of TV presenter George Clarke as an independent adviser to the government on empty homes, and plans brought forward to allow councils to charge extra council tax on properties vacant for two years or more through the empty homes premium.
Today’s announcement brings the total investment to £215m to bring these empty properties back into use.
George Clarke, independent empty homes adviser, said: “The announcement of this funding is a fantastic step forward in bringing empty homes back into use, especially the £25m of funding for community and voluntary groups.
“It is now up to these organisations to think creatively using new forms of procurement like home steading, sweat equity and apprenticeship schemes to make every penny stretch as far as possible.
“This is an amazing opportunity to rethink the way we refurbish our existing housing stock in Britain and for communities to declare that empty homes are unacceptable when there are so many families in need of a decent home. Although there is still a long way, this is a brilliant start.”