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New Homes Bonus Scheme (Milton Keynes)

Volume 519: debated on Thursday 25 November 2010

13. If he will estimate the proportion of the funding for the new homes bonus scheme which will be spent in Milton Keynes. (26211)

The new homes bonus will match-fund the same amount of council tax for every single home built for an additional six years, and we have published a very helpful calculator on the Department’s website, where people can go today to find out how much they will get for the additional homes built.

I warmly welcome the new homes bonus, which will go a long way to providing the infrastructure that new housing estates need, but will local authorities have the discretion to use that bonus for capital and revenue items?

The new homes bonus is available for local authorities to spend as they see fit. Under the localism Bill and the flexibility that we now provide, it is absolutely possible for local authorities to use that money potentially even to borrow against, because the income stream is guaranteed for six years. It is a simple, very straightforward approach to making sure that people get more money to their area. To give Members an indication of the calculator, I should say that for every 100 homes that are built in any given area £1 million is likely to go to it over the six-year period.

Milton Keynes and Slough are both in the same region, and they both face similar issues, because the homes in their areas are more likely to be in a lower council tax band than the homes in neighbouring areas. Is it fair that those neighbouring areas, which build bigger, richer houses, will get more money than places such as Milton Keynes and Slough, which have more band D places?

We can usefully draw out a couple of points from the consultation that is before the House. First, we have set the banding equally throughout the country, so a band D home represents the average band D home throughout the country. Secondly, bigger homes obviously take up more space, so people will get less money because they cannot build as many. Thirdly, the hon. Lady will be interested to know that we have over-compensated for affordable house building, ensuring that every single affordable home that is built will get more than £350 in additional money. That represents a figure of more than 125% for every affordable home built. We should get more built—