News story

Councils seeing benefits of reducing numbers of empty homes

Bringing thousands of empty homes back into use has unlocked over £63million additional funding that is directly benefiting local communities…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Bringing thousands of empty homes back into use has unlocked over £63million additional funding that is directly benefiting local communities through the successful New Homes Bonus scheme, Communities Minister Don Foster revealed today.

In a further move towards greater Government transparency, the figures showed which councils have made the biggest reduction in empty homes and the New Homes Bonus that they will have received for doing so.

In total, local authorities have brought nearly 38,000 long-term empty homes back into use over the past two years - helping to tackle the housing shortage and providing a roof over the heads of hard working families across the country.

The top five local authorities that have seen the biggest reduction in empty homes are:

  • Birmingham, which has brought 2,151 empty homes back into use, along with
  • Manchester, 2,118 homes
  • Bradford, 1,944 homes
  • Liverpool, 1,855 homes, and
  • Salford, 1,582 homes.

On the release of the figures, Don Foster said:

This information, shown in this way for the first time, lets people see how their councils are embracing the New Homes Bonus by examining their empty housing stock and turning it back into use.

I’m delighted we’ve had such a positive start and encourage all councils to work hard in transforming empty properties, which drag down neighbourhoods, and instead turn them into homes fit for families.

By making councils accountable to their residents, not to Whitehall, we are ensuring local tax-payers have the ability to check that money is being spent efficiently and decisions taken for the benefit of the communities they serve.

The Government’s powerful and innovative New Homes Bonus scheme rewards councils who increase their housing stock, either by building new homes or converting empty properties back into use, by match funding the additional council tax raised, with an additional amount for affordable homes, for the following six years.

This has meant that communities are seeing the benefits of growth for the first time - in stark contrast to the previous, top-down system of regional housing targets which Ministers argue pitted neighbourhoods against developers.

Notes to Editors

  1. More information on New Homes Bonus can be found here:

  2. The statistics showing the reduction in the number of empty properties and subsequent New Homes Bonus for each local authority can be found in the table here:

Published 27 September 2012