I managed to grab a conversation with Grant Shapps, the housing minister last night.
- there will be no advantage to housing market renewal areas bidding to the new Regional Growth Fund in 2012.
- housing market renewal ends in 2011 and there is a 12 month gap even if a bid was successful.
- after lobbying, the new homes bonus scheme will include empty properties - consultation to which I will be responding is coming forward this Friday.
- the new homes bonus scheme will be based on average rateable values offering (as Mr Shapps suggested) an advantage to northern towns.
- the empty homes £100m fund is also going out to consultation this Friday?
I will be leading the charge to return government investment in Hyndburn. Sadly I have had no support from the ruling Conservative Group on the Council.