Has NHB ceased (so currently no benefit in data cleansing)?

Further to David Gibben's original post, has there been any confirmation from Government about either cessation or continuation of NHB? Or the form of / timescale for potential replacement incentives? I note in the Government's 29/01/19 written statement about the final settlement that: "The consultation illustrated that the sector wants certainty on the future of the New Homes Bonus after next year. The government remains fully committed to incentivising housing growth and will consult widely with local authorities on how best to reward housing delivery effectively after 2019-20." We are currently deliberating about whether to undertake a major data cleansing exercise prior to October snapshot - the recorded number of long-term empty properties normally influencing calculation of NHB payment. If (apart from reducing the headline figure for number of LTEs) it would bring no financial reward, then it would arguably be an unjustified burden on staff resources; but if we stand to benefit financially, as we have in previous years, then it could be worthwhile. I'd be grateful if anyone could help shed light on the situation to help us decide. Thanks in anticipation of advice.

David Clough

New Homes Bonus

Hi David

There doesn't seem to be any progress on this. Nothing turns up in Google searches anyway.  I do have alerts running for NHB and nothing seems to have been flagged up by them.

Going back to my original post, the government backtracked on its stated intention to increase the threshold, with James Brokenshire claiming that doing so (i.e. back-tracking) cost them £18million (see https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2019-02-05d.241.0 ).

As regards the second point, that there is no further funding allocated to NHB given the end of the Spending Review period, the impact of this is less certain, bearing in mind that NHB was always supposed to end up revenue-neutral, relying on a system of winners and losers after an initial 4 years of extra funding..

However, they had continued to put in additional funding to ease the impact on the losers after the four years. If there is no more addiitonal money then one would infer that the losers will lose more in order to fund the winners if the NHB continues.

You will probably agree that In the current political environment absolutely anything is possible so it would be safest to press on with the data cleansing which after all does have its own merits (though I am not arguing that the cost-benefit ratio necessarily justifies it).

David Gibbens
Pontificator (retired)

Does anyone know if there's going to be a further year of New Homes Bonus (NHB) yet?

Following the various discussions about the future of NHB on this forum and the lack of news form the government generally about this, at this point in the year I (like most others probably) had assumed that it had now been discontinued.

However, I've just been contacted by our Finance Team who rather worryingly have recived an e-mail from the Valuation Office beginning " I would like to assure you that we remain sensitive to the importance of New Homes Bonus work to you......"   and which continues by referring to "......... the deadline of Monday 9th September 2019, which has been announced by MHCLG"

Our Finance Team are now attempting to source a contact at the MHCLG to confirm if NHB is indeed to continue for a further year, and that it will include Empty Property figures but in the meantime........Can anyone else tell me if they've heard anything about NHB for this year?  (e.g. Is it indeed continuing, and if so, will it still include EP figures?)

I'd be really grateful to know if anyone has heard anything, as October's not that far away for the usual EP CTB return.

Many thanks,


Empty Property Officer

Brighton and Hove City Council    


Thanks Patrick. We (Empty Homes) haven't received any communications or confirmation about NHB but decided to undertake data cleansing this year on the off-chance that it would continue and we could potentially benefit; and also because it's important to have accurate data and keep the headline figure for LTE properties as low as possible. But we are gearing up to complete exercise by normal 01 October Council Tax Base snapshot date, not any earlier deadline (which wouldn't be achievable). Are you able to share the full content, or more of, the Valuation Office email you refer to? In the meantime I'll enquire via Finance colleagues.


David Clough (Empty Homes Team Manager - Cornwall Council)

Hi David,

As the e-mail came with the usual qualifier/footer..'This message is confidential and the information must not be used, disclosed, or copied to any other person......etc', and whilst this is probably just a standard footerour Finance Team have told me they are a little reluctant for me to just cut and paste the entire body of the e-mail text into this Forum (fair enough, I guess.)

However, they did tell me to let you know that the e-mail was a 'standard' one sent to every billing authority from the VOA on 26th July 2019 and that the e-mail was headed VOA Update - New Homes Bonus and was signed: Helen Charlesworth, Local Authority Engagement Team Leader, Valuation Office. Email: Email: helen.m.charlesworth@voa.gsi.gov.uk.

I'm sure if you ask your Finance Team to look into this, they too are likely to have had this e-mail and can either provide you with anything further they may know or make further enquiries with the VOA, as our Finance Team are currently attempting to do.

Sorry I can't be of more help at the moment  

Patrick (Gordon)

Empty Property Officer

Brighton & Hove City Council.





Thanks Patrick, that's helpful.


David Clough (Empty Homes Team Manager - Cornwall Council)

Quite probably attention is now focussed on other more pressing matters (COVID 19) but, as I've been asked to find out, has there been any mention since original post and replies about the future of NHB (or any successor incentive)? 

David Clough (Empty Homes Team Manager - Cornwall Council)

Hi David

The only thing I am aware of is that in the Government’s Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2020 to 2021 statement, issued in 20 December 2019, it stated under the heading ‘New Homes Bonus’:

…………….It is not clear that the New Homes Bonus in its current form is focussed on incentivising homes where they are needed most. I am therefore announcing that the government will consult on the future of the housing incentive in the spring……………

Well…….as we’re only just in spring now I guess it’s understandable we’ve not heard anything or received any consultation on this just yet, but as you say, in the current national crisis, Government attention is probably focussed on more pressing matters at the moment so I’m guessing we’re not likely to hear anything anytime soon either. 

Does anyone know different? If so, it would be good to know even if only for this year (October) coming!

Patrick Gordon, Empty Property Officer, Brighton & Hove City Council


Thanks Patrick.


David Clough (Empty Homes Team Manager - Cornwall Council)


We pushed the Ministry for clarification on this point as we recently took an EP report to members which looked at the options for keeping numbers of LTE's low. 

The first response we got was:

The Secretary of State announced new provisional allocations of the New Homes Bonus for 2020/21 as part of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement in December 2019 and that the Government will consult on the future of the housing incentive in the spring which I would invite you to respond to. Funding beyond 2020/21 will be a matter for the Spending Review later this year.


Xavia Morbey

Housing Investment and Diversification

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 3rd Floor South West Fry Building

2 Marsham Street

London, SW1P 4DF

0303 4441246 

The second, after we pushed for more detail was: 

2020/21 allocations announced in December and due to be finalised as part of the final Settlement are based on the CTB data submitted in September 2019 (and published here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/council-taxbase-2019-in-england) those allocations will be paid next year.


So that clears that one up then! We are likely to be in a very different financial climate when they do get round to looking at this again so no doubt that will influence things. 

One thing was sure and that was that our finance team were very certain that this year was the last payment (i.e. based on the figures from Oct 19) and referred to an email they had received, but I never managed to get sight of this.



Senior Officer

Housing Standards and Adaptations 

City of York Council