Labour’s house building incentives slammed

Ruth Kelly, head of the Department of Communities and Local Government, came under fire last week over her plans to offer town halls housing incentives.

The grants are aimed at local auth-orities with housing needs and will be given to those that take on new housing developments.

Press reports have criticised the grants, likening them to “blackmail” and saying Kelly is planning to push up Council Tax for those town halls that refuse to build the homes.

But a spokeswoman for the DCLG says: “This measure is about supporting councils that are responding to housing demand in their areas.”

The move is in line with Kelly’s plans to increase the number of homes being built each year from 160,000 to 200,000.