DERBYSHIRE: Second homes cash boost will benefit local people

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Support for domestic abuse victims and a scheme helping vulnerable people get out and about are just two projects to benefit from council tax paid on second homes.

More than £1.5m will be generated across Amber Valley, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak and South Derbyshire over the next three years from the programme which sees people owning properties classed as second homes paying 90 per cent of the total council tax for them.

These four Derbyshire areas have been identified as being most affected by people owning second homes in Derbyshire.

When the rules on levying council tax on second homes were changed it 2004 Derbyshire County Council agreed that the areas most affected would receive 75 per cent of the additional income raised to be spent on enhancing housing and support for local vulnerable people.

The county council has now agreed the proposed programmes and projects with the four district and borough councils up until 2015.

Derbyshire Dales District Council, which received £214,000 from the fund this financial year will receive a further £300,000 for each of the next two years to fund a range of projects in the area which will support vulnerable people.

These include the Escape Project which helps vulnerable people to get involved in activities in their local communities including sport, leisure and volunteering and a project aimed at meeting the accommodation needs of people with disabilities.

The money will also go towards an Age Concern Derby and Derbyshire project aimed at providing independent housing and benefits advice and a scheme which supports and provides practical support to vulnerable people and households and to women escaping domestic violence.

High Peak Borough Council has already received £115,000 and will receive the same amount for each of the next two years to spend on projects including supporting young people who are faced with homelessness or in crisis, providing one-to-one support to help them find suitable accommodation and deal with other matters in their lives.

They will also fund a domestic abuse project in partnership with High Peak Women’s Aid, provide support to families in crisis and fund the Homeless Person Prevention Fund which makes small grant payments to people or families who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

South Derbyshire District Council received £62,000 for 2012/13 and will receive the same amount for each of the next two years which it will spend on additional funding for disabled facilities grants, used to provide aids and adaptations in people’s homes.

In Amber Valley Borough Council £79,000 has been received and a further £80,000 for each of the next two years will be spent on projects including providing housing support and advice to local residents and funding aids and adaptations in people’s homes.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Care Councillor Charles Jones said: “The extra money generated from council tax on second homes is being put to very good use in all of the four areas.

“Really worthwhile projects are receiving funding which in turn is benefiting hundreds of local people, some of whom are very vulnerable and find the support they receive invaluable.”