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Government announces £91 million fund to restore empty homes

The government is to pump £91 million into restoring more than 6,000 empty homes

Communities minister Don Foster has announced that towns across England will be given a share of the funding pot to bring back into use derelict homes and commercial properties.

The money will initally be spent on areas where empty properties have led to squatting, collapsing house prices, and residents leaving.

The funding will be allocated in two rounds. Two-thirds of the first £61 million will go to the Homes and Communities Agency and will bring 3,200 homes back into use. In the second year of funding £30 million will be allocated to the clusters of empty homes programme, targeting areas such as Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Middlesborough.

Commenting on the announcement, Don Foster said: ‘The government is doing everything possible to tackle the problem of empty homes and urban blight. This will bring people, shops and jobs back to once abandoned areas, and provide extra affordable homes we so badly need.

‘We have already made very good progress, cutting the number of long term empty homes by 40,000 but with thousands of people in this country desperate to buy a home and areas still suffering problems of urban blight we must go further still’.

Andy Rose, HCA chief executive, said: ‘We had a very encouraging response to the funding across a wide range of types of property. This demonstrates a strong appetite and scope for bringing empty homes and properties back into use, which will help to reinvigorate our communities and towns. We look forward to working with housing providers to bring these homes forward’.

The government has invested £130 million to refurbish up to 11,500 empty homes since 2010. This includes £100 million to bring empty property back as affordable housing, and the first clusters of empty homes programme investment of £30 million.

A further announcement on funding for London under the second round of the empty homes programme is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

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