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Communities get chance to bring empty homes back into use

Many of these schemes will also have wider benefits such as providing excellent training opportunities for local people.

Mr Stunell said that tackling the 700,000 empty homes across the country was a top priority for the Government, and would be a key feature in the drive to increase the provision of affordable housing.

The Government will also consult in due course on plans to allow councils local discretion to introduce a council tax premium on homes in their area that have been empty for more than two years, to provide a stronger incentive to get the homes back into productive use and remove the blight from such properties on local neighbourhoods.

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said:

"There is a desperate need in this country for affordable housing, and yet for every two families that need a home, there is one property standing empty. This is a national scandal, and after years of inaction and inertia, this Government is determined to get to grips with the problem.

"That’s why I am today announcing that community and voluntary organisations will now be able to apply for a slice of £100m to tackle empty homes. With the new homes bonus applying to empty homes as well as new ones, councils can also receive six years worth of funding for every home they bring back into use. And I will continue to explore all options so it is always in the interest of councils to tackle empty homes."

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