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£23m investment for jobs and housing in Bradford
Nearly £23 million looks set to be spent on new homes, a jobs project and other community improvements across the district, thanks to a tax-back scheme.
The district is now reaping the benefits of a VAT agreement forged more than a decade ago, when the Council’s stock of social housing was transferred to social landlord Incommunities, then known as the Bradford Community Housing Trust.
Under the agreement, when the landlord spent money bringing its properties up to the national Decent Homes standard, it could claim the VAT back from the taxman.
But Bradford Council would have a say in how about half of the money was spent. Incommunities has finished its multi-million-pound renovation scheme and in total, the VAT agreement has diverted more than £40 million away from the taxman’s pockets.
And Bradford Council is set to sign off on a draft six-year £22.9m spending plan next week, with the details delegated to a specially set-up steering group.
It would also set aside £3m to keep the Get Bradford Working job scheme going until 2020.
Jez Lester, Incommunities’ assistant chief executive for asset management, said it would be good news for the district.
He said: “It’s extra funding which can be used on community and regeneration projects which will help to provide jobs or homes or improve shopping facilities for people within the district.”
The Get Bradford Working scheme, which began last year, is supported by Bradford Council, Incommunities and the Job Centre. It aims to create hundreds of apprenticeships, training opportunities and jobs for local people. The new plan would see the scheme extended for years to come, on a smaller scale, once the current funding comes to an end.
Mr Lester said: “It’s a significant extension to the project. It’s recognition that we as Incommunities, working with other agencies, want to see as many people get into work as possible because there are obvious benefits to communities, to the individuals and to organisations.”
The plan will be discussed at the next meeting of Bradford Council’s executive, on Tuesday.
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