Housing crisis: minister announces plan to refurbish empty homes

26 Nov

Five thousand empty homes could be brought back into use with help from government funds to tackle the national housing shortage, the communities minister, Don Foster, announces on Monday.

Local councils and other providers, such as housing associations will be able to bid for money from a £300m fund announced in September to refurbish homes in often blighted areas.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has not revealed how much of the fund would be available for the scheme but promised a significant amount of it, and said that the homes should be ready to live in within three years.

Foster says he wants to go much further with the initiative, making more use of some 1m empty homes across the UK, of which a third have been empty for six months or more.

Critics have been warning that housebuilding has not kept pace with rising demand for several decades, and currently the shortfall is estimated to be more than 100,000 homes a year.

Last week the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced government intervention to speed up several stalled housebuilding projects, which could see a further 50,000 homes built.



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