Government backtracks on empty homes incentive

Mark mark at
Sat Jul 19 12:58:16 BST 2008

Government backtracks on empty homes incentive
by Shafik Meghji,, 18 July 2008


The Government has backtracked on proposals to make incentive payments
to councils for delivering extra housebuilding dependent on bringing
empty homes back into use, it emerged this week.

The information emerged as ministers published results of a consultation
on the £510million Housing and Planning Delivery Grant (HPDG), which
exists to encourage extra housebuilding.

Although 57% of respondents supported using the grant to offer incentives
to councils to bring empty homes back into use, the Government said this
would not be "appropriate".

"We recognise the view expressed by a number of local authorities that
their allocations should not be dependent on them taking action on empty
homes if it is not a priority in their area," it said.

The move was criticised by a housing charity, the Empty Homes Agency
(EHA), as "depressingly predictable".

David Ireland, the EHA's chief executive, said: "In October last year the
Government [said] the purpose of the [HPDG] was ‘to deliver more
affordable housing by bringing empty homes back into use and giving more
cash to communities who are building more homes'.

"But now they've decided not to bother and just reward councils for giving
planning permission for new housing developments instead."

The Department of Communities and Local Government was asked for
confirmation of the change in policy, but had not responded by the time of

Housing and Planning Delivery Grant: Allocation Mechanism and Summary of
Consultation Responses is available here

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