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Cash for new community facilities under threat, says MP
3:40pm Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
MUCH needed new community facilities are under threat because of proposed changes to a special funding scheme, according to Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff.
He is urging parish councils, community groups and concerned individuals to respond to a government consultation on the future of the New Homes Bonus. He is also urging people to sign a petition on fairer funding for rural authorities.
Mr Luff said: “The Government introduced the New Homes Bonus as a way to reward local communities for taking new homes in their area. When new homes are accepted the money given to the community can then be used for community facilities or projects. Across Wychavon local people have seen really good things happening with this money.
“During 2012-13, Wychavon approved 28 New Homes Bonus proposals from 22 parish councils for projects amounting to a total of £205,147. The direct impact of these New Homes Bonus investments included better equipped community groups, improved village halls, safer roads and enhanced green spaces.
“Indeed, Wychavon has been praised by ministers for the way the council has used New Homes Bonus money for the direct benefit of the local people. But, just as the New Homes Bonus is beginning to prove its worth, the Government is going to change the system.
“The Government is proposing that some of the money given to councils should instead be given to the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership. The LEP would then be responsible for deciding what would happen with this cash.
“So, the financial reward for new homes built in, say, Broadway, might be spent in Redditch or Kidderminster. The link with local development would be broken and it is not fair to the communities that have been promised this money and have been making their plans for how to spend it. Understandably many parish councils are furious.”
The Government consultation on changes to the New Homes Bonus closes on September 19.
“We need as many signatures as possible and I know that your district councillors, who all have copies of the petition, would be delighted to hear from you if you want to sign it,” said Mr Luff.
“Local Government funding can be complicated and in all honesty quite boring, but it is the lifeblood of local services and facilities and the Government’s plans will have a big effect. It is vital we make our voices heard.”
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