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150,000 council homes to be brought up to standard

Announcing the outcome of the bidding process, Mr Shapps said that 50 local authorities will benefit from funding, protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

The bids submitted by local authorities had to go through a rigorous assessment process undertaken by the Homes and Communities Agency to ensure that maximum value for money for the taxpayer and maximum benefit for the country’s council housing tenants.

Successful bids were those where the authority made a strong case for investment need and had already demonstrated significant cost reductions – where this is the case the authority has been awarded levels of funding close to their bid.

The funding will help tackle the backlog of non-Decent homes in preparation for the introduction of a new fairer system of council house financing.

The self-financing proposal, which is a key measure of the Localism Bill currently before Parliament, will put councils firmly in control of managing their housing stock and bring an end to the Housing Revenue Account subsidy system. This offers the best way of maintaining the country’s social housing stock as councils will be able to manage their finances over the long term rather than on a year by year basis.

Grant Shapps said:

"To reflect our commitment to fairness and protecting the most vulnerable people in our society, we set aside over £2bn at the Spending Review to bring as many social homes as we can up to scratch – this was despite the tough decisions we took to tackle the record deficit.

"£1.6bn of the funding is for council homes, and some 50 local authorities will benefit from this funding – allowing them to improve around 150,000 houses. Too many families live in non-decent accommodation, so I am pleased that so many of them will see a difference to due this funding.

"I have already announced my intention to give councils and communities the power to manage their own stock through a system of self-financing – bringing new freedoms and flexibilities and greater efficiency savings. This funding will help ready those councils facing the most difficulties in tackling the non-decent homes on their books."

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) said:

"These allocations will make a significant impact in local communities and is good news for the tenants who will benefit from improvements to their homes. At the HCA our involvement does not end with this investment, and we will now work with councils and other landlords to maximise the impact of funding through our enabling role."

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