£8m to help end ‘empty homes disgrace’

THE Government has announced an £8m cash boost for Hull, Kirklees, Barnsley and Calder dale, to tackle the blight of empty homes.

It is estimated there are 720,000 empty homes across England and communities minister, Andrew Stunell, hopes the cash boost will help to bring thousands of homes back into use.

The Yorkshire councils are among twenty successful councils throughout the country that will each receive a slice of £60m to tackle clusters of empty homes. Voluntary and community groups across the country will receive over £25m to tackle individual empty properties in their area, often projects that they have failed to secure cash for, ensuring another 5,600 empty homes are lived in once again.

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Hull will receive £3.6m, Kirklees will receive £2.9m, Barnsley will receive £961,374 and Calderdale will get £599,967.

Mr Stunell 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.”

The announcement is the latest on the issue from the Government – cash has already been earmarked to bring empty homes back into use as affordable housing, TV presenter George Clarke has been appointed as independent adviser to the Government on empty homes, and plans have been brought forward to allow councils to charge extra council tax on properties vacant for two years or more.

It is hoped that by returning these homes into use and providing families with much needed homes, new life will be breathed into these areas as well as providing local training and employment to do so.

“The announcement of this funding is a fantastic step forward in bringing empty homes back into use,” Mr Clarke said.