The New Homes Bonus Scheme (NHB) introduced by the Coalition Government provides cash for areas that allow new homes to be built in their area (a form of bribery?). Government funding has been set aside for local councils that welcome new housing development, which they can spend to benefit their local community.
Under the scheme the Government matched the council tax raised from new homes for the first six years through the New Homes Bonus, and it has been extended to 2021/22. Our Council is expected to work together with our communities to decide how to spend the extra funding gained from the NHB Scheme – whether that be council tax discounts for local residents across the district, paying for wheelie bins damaged by Veolia, or putting the money to use to purchase new boats for Hythe Canal, Graffiti removal, to name but a few examples.
Between 2011-12 to 2015-16 our Council, then Shepway District Council had received £5,053,804 in NHB Scheme payments, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. And between 2018/19 and 2021/22 the Council will receive £3,750,432. Add in the two years we have missed out and the Council have received close to £10 million in total. However, has anyone seen any evidence of the Council working together with your community across the district on how to spend the NHB Scheme money?
There have been other Councils who have consulted their communities such as Wychavon District Council, Cheshire East Council and Chichester District Council for example, but not Folkestone & Hythe District Council. How much could £10 million have helped our local communities? Well on average each community/ward could have received just over £300,000 plus across the the nine years the NHB scheme has been running. It could have bought defibrillators, paid for repairs to equipment on playgrounds, or paid to have extended the Hythe Canal cycle/footpath, just to name a few examples.
Come May 2nd there is a chance our Conservative led Council could lose their majority for the first time in twenty years. It is possible, it is doable. Perchance it does happen, we would expect any new controlling party/s to engage and participate with their communities, which make up our wonderful District, on how some of that money should be spent in their communities. It’s doable, it’s possible.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime