£1billion cash boost for pro-growth communities
Communities with ambitions for economic growth have been rewarded with a cash boost of nearly £1billion to get their projects off the ground and improve their local areas.
The announcement forms part of a wider package of measures announced by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, highlighting the vital and central role that housing is playing in getting the country's economy on the road to recovery.
Ministers have confirmed the allocation of the £500milllion Growing Places Fund, designed to boost economic growth by getting the required infrastructure built to enable the creation of new homes and jobs and get stalled projects moving again.
The funding has been allocated to the country's 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships, who will now decide what to prioritise locally.
The fund can be used to establish revolving funds to take forward a range of projects that can help boost economic growth, as Local Enterprise Partnerships offer funding to developers, but also secure a return on that investment.
In addition, Housing Minister Grant Shapps has confirmed a cash boost to 353 councils, who will receive a share of £432million New Homes Bonus funding after delivering 159,000 homes last year - and from a second round of payments for homes built the year before.
This year's payment includes the first premium for affordable homes - totalling £20million.
Whether regenerating the town centre, reinvigorating treasured local assets or reinvesting in local services and enterprise, councils and communities will work together to decide how best to spend their New Homes Bonus.
Taken together, the allocations of the Growing Places and New Homes Bonus funding totals nearly £1billion.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
"Today's announcement represents a massive cash boost of nearly £1billion to communities with a track record of going for growth, and with ambition to go even further.
"The Growing Places Fund will unlock further sites for development, creating new jobs in those areas, while the New Homes Bonus recognises the efforts that have been made over the last year to deliver thousands of new homes and bring empty properties back into use.
"I look forward to seeing how this significant investment will change the shape of communities across the country."
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said:
"Transport provides the crucial links that allow people and businesses to prosper.
"This investment will develop and improve the infrastructure that moves goods and people around helping to build the balanced, dynamic and sustainable economy that is needed for our future prosperity. Shovel-ready local transport projects like local roads and bridges can be essential to access new homes and new jobs.
"The Fund is also a unique opportunity for Local Enterprise Partnerships to establish a rolling investment programme and leverage the private sector to continue to deliver future projects that maximise economic benefit.
"Our vision is for a transport system that is not only an engine for economic growth but also one that is safer, more environmentally friendly and improves quality of life in our communities."
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
"Today we are confirming the allocations of the half a billion pound Growing Places fund, which will make a real difference to local infrastructure across the country.
"The flexible fix-it fund will invest in a variety of projects to boost the local economy. The local community, through the Local Enterprise Partnerships, will decide on the priority projects, ranging from building strategic link roads to reducing congestion."