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Communities to receive cashback on new homes

Local communities across the UK are set to benefit from a new initiative that will see councils receive cashback grants on new housing projects within their area.

Planning minister Mark Boles has announced authorities are set to receive grants of up to £17 million in total over the next two years as part of efforts to ensure planning and the delivery of services becomes an increasingly local decision-making process in the future.

Individual grants will be up to a maximum of £50,000 and will aim to improve local authorities' ability to implement the new powers that are being enacted as part of the Localism Act, with the scheme set to be launched in January.

Mr Boles commented: "The new financial support we are making available today to councils will enable them to open up neighbourhood planning so that even more communities can turn paper plans into the realities of prospering neighbourhoods that are growing and developing in the ways they want to see."

He added that communities across the country are showing a "real enthusiasm" for the Localism Act and this latest boost to funding for councils will help to kick-start direct community involvement in planning.

It comes in stark contrast to the policies of recent years, where central government has taken the lead on all important infrastructure and development decisions across the UK, but from 2013 this situation is set to change.

Earlier this week, Mr Boles also announced the publication of new guidance for the Community Infrastructure Levy that aims to make the whole system of charging clearer and more straightforward.

Launched in 2008, the tax is payable on all new developments across the UK, with the money being put towards the delivery of services for local communities, such as new hospitals, schools, green spaces and leisure facilities. 

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