The chancellor’s joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement, says that the government will consult on reforms to the New Homes Bonus, “including means of sharpening the incentive to reward communities for additional homes and reducing the length of payments from six years to four years”. The document adds: “This will include a preferred option for savings of at least £800 million”
As a borough that builds far more homes than the national average, this could lead to Swindon losing out by around £3m a year.
Details of these reforms will be set out as part of the local government finance settlement consultation. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will shortly consult on all of the changes to the local government finance system outlined in the Chancellor’s joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement.
The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“The proposed changes to the New Homes Bonus are a huge moneygrab from the Chancellor from local areas like Swindon which build the most homes in the country. Given that the Conservative Party has said how effective the New Homes Bonus has been in generating more new homes, it is surprising that the Chancellor has deemed that he can cut this fund in such a significant way.
Losing as much as £3m a year is a huge loss for Swindon. This could have been used to protect our elderly, helping to deliver the new infrastructure we need to meet housing growth, cleaning our streets and resurfacing our roads.
The Government are now basically forcing local authorities to permit housing developments no matter what affects it has on local areas and are now saying that when Swindon builds these houses, they won’t receive the government funding they were originally promised.
What amazes me about such a significant cut in funding to Swindon is that we have two MPs in the heart of the government, as government ministers. What are they doing in the government to make sure Swindon doesn’t have cuts in funding over and above other areas?”