Housing minister announces plans to allocate £605m for housing developments

Local authorities with the most ambitious housing development plans will receive a bigger chunk of the £605m fund that Margaret Beckett, the housing minister, made available to them today.

Over the next two years, the Growth Points scheme will give money to local authorities to build new houses and parks, and improve local transport.

Despite the gloom surrounding the housing market, 163 local authorities have signed up to build 1.3m new homes by 2016, 30% more than previously planned.

Beckett said: “In these difficult economic times we must not lose sight of the long-term need to build more homes. As well as helping to build the new homes we need, it will ensure we have the support and infrastructure in place so that these homes become part of the existing community, not a burden on their resources.”

Greater Manchester was allocated £12.3m, the largest proportion of the funding.

Peter Smith, the leader of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities welcomed the announcement, saying: “It helps address the current downturn and support continued growth and regeneration over the medium term.”