A boost for housing is on the cards

A FRACTION of the £20 million which the council expects to receive from building and improving homes could be used to help the vulnerable and first time buyers.

The cash stream is a product of the Government’s New Homes Bonus and the money be spent over six years on virtually anything.

Last year the council received £725,000 and it will rise to £1.6 million this year.

The figure for 2016 is expected to be in excess of £5 million.

Calderdale Council’s economy and environment panel has been asked to give its backing to the first part of what is expected to be a lengthy list of projects.

“The New Homes Bonus is ultimately derived from the delivery of homes and bringing back into use empty homes,” according to head of housing Mark Thompson.

“Notwithstanding the wider budget pressures on the council, there is logic in deploying some of the future years’ bonus to deliver more new homes and bring more empty properties back into use.”

He has advised the council’s economy and environment panel to set aside £100,000 for a wide variety of loans to be given to new and existing home owners.

There could help towards mortgage deposits and renovating older property.

Many older people are trapped in large family houses and may need small amounts of short term funds to identify suitable alternatives and advertise their own home for sale.

The maximum value of any loan would be six times the council tax for the property.

Another £30,000 could be used to given impartial help to 100 vulnerable people who need to find more suitable accommodation.

If councillors agree, £29,000 would be used to track down, encourage and enable owners of up to 100 empty properties to sell, improve or otherwise bring them back into use.

About £10,000 could be used to employ someone part-time to ensure council information about housing construction and restoration is up to date, and it qualifies for the correct level of homes bonus.

The measures which should be put to the panel on Thursday will cost about £169,000 a year but could earn the authority a bonus worth nearly £1.2 million, said Mr Thompson in a report to councillors.