Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Builders get cash to finish homes

Developers have been told to re-start projects by next March

The government has allocated £388m to ensure 115 private sector housing projects in England which have stalled during the downturn can be completed.

Housing minister John Healey described the Kickstart scheme - under which £62m has already been promised - as a "rapid response to the recession".

The government says it will mean 11,000 homes are built and 9,500 jobs saved.

But the Tories said the announcement would not solve the housing crisis and should be "taken with a pinch of salt".

Two-thirds of the developers helped under Kickstart have been told to repay all the money.

Other companies have reached "different" agreements, a Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said.

'Tough terms'

Developers have been told to re-start building by March next year.

Mr Healey said: "With this investment, we are creating jobs and helping build the homes people need.

"Kickstart funding comes with tough terms, and I expect much of this money to be repaid within five years.

"Some developers have failed our tough value-for-money test, but I'm also encouraged that others have withdrawn saying they no longer need help because market conditions are improving."

Shadow housing minister, for the Conservatives, Grant Shapps said: "Any building that goes ahead is welcome. But there's a huge housing crisis, not least because there have not been enough homes built under Labour.

"The problem isn't about just this year; it's about long-term lack of building.

"These government announcements often don't come to very much, and I would take this one with a pinch of salt."

The government has allocated £46.1m for the East Midlands, £20.3m for eastern England, £64.2m for London, £43.4m for the North East, £50.4m for the North West, £43.3m for the South East, £19.5m for the South West, £55.3m for the West Midlands and £46.7m for Yorkshire and the Humber.

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