The minister published final allocations for this year’s New Homes Bonus payments, totalling over £900m, which will be shared among England’s 353 councils.
This means that since the New Homes Bonus began in 2011, councils will be receiving funding for delivering 550,000 newly-built homes and conversions, including over 160,000 affordable homes, and for bringing 93,000 empty homes back into use.
These final allocations bring the total given to councils since the scheme’s launch to over £2bn.
The New Homes Bonus is a powerful and transparent incentive for communities and councils to say yes to new development in their area.
Launched in 2011, it is a permanent part of the local government finance system and matches the additional council tax raised for new homes and empty homes brought back into use for 6 years – with extra cash for new affordable homes.
Councils are then free to use that funding as they see fit to benefit their local area - from providing new facilities, to protecting frontline services or simply freezing Council Tax.
New figures from the National House Building Council show a 28% increase in housing supply in 2013 compared to the previous year, while housebuilding is at its highest level since 2007.
Hopkins said: “The New Homes Bonus lets local people share in the benefits of development, with councils free to spend the money to benefit their local area.
“And getting Britain building in this way is critical to our long-term economic plan, not only building the homes communities need, but creating thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships across the country.
“We will continue to pay the bonus in the future to ensure that places that have built houses are properly rewarded for doing so.
Communities minister Stephen Williams added: “I’m delighted to see the numbers of empty homes going down by 38,000 over the past year alone. Today’s New Homes Bonus payments are in recognition of council-led efforts to make this happen.
“But I want councils to go even further, and use the range of powers we’ve put in their hands to end the blight of empty properties in our neighbourhoods and bring them back into productive use for the families who need the stability and security new home can provide.”