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New Homes Bonus

Volume 542: debated on Monday 12 March 2012

16. What assessment he has made of the difference between the number of (a) new homes being built and (b) units qualifying for the new homes bonus; and if he will make a statement. [R] (98969)

The new homes bonus is calculated in respect of net additions to the effective housing stock, including new build, conversions and empty homes brought back into use.

I draw attention to my interests in the register. I am glad the Minister is beginning to look at the discrepancy in his figures. According to the written answer he gave me on 29 February, in nine local authority areas in England the number of homes qualifying in 2011 for the affordable housing component of the new homes bonus exceeded the total number of homes for which new homes bonus was awarded. As this is clearly total nonsense, will the Minister explain what is going on? Were his statisticians having an off day, or is this another case of the Government not having a clue what they are doing?

Unless the right hon. Gentleman is accusing local authorities of being misleading in the paperwork they return, the new homes bonus must surely be, through the council tax base form, the single most accurate way of knowing how many new dwellings there are in this country. I know that he insists that it is something to do with D to H band homes being deregistered and then reregistered as smaller homes, so I have checked the figures and can tell him that they have been falling; the number of deregistrations has gone from 19,000 to 16,000 to 15,000-plus in each of the past three years, categorically disproving his theory once and for all.