Whilst the election has taken most of the headlines over the past couple of months there has been a net gain in houses in Kirklees for the five years 2011/12 to 2015/16.
This is good news for Kirklees local authority, who receive £21.7m from central Government’s “New Homes Bonus Scheme”.
Local authorities from the North and the Midlands were sparingly represented in the top 50 group.
Only Barnsley, Bradford, Cheshire East, Coventry, Durham UA, East Riding of Yorkshire UA, Kirklees, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham Salford, Sheffield and Wakefield clocked up allocations of over £15m during the scheme’s lifetime, so this is a good achievement for Kirklees.
The Government bankrolled the scheme to the tune of nearly £3.4bn with the biggest net gain being in Tower Hamlets in London who gained £74.7m.
Department for Communities and Local Government calculated that the scheme rewarded delivery of 700,000 net additional dwellings and over 100,000 long-term empty homes, which were brought back into use.
However, the department found no evidence that the initiative “was providing an additional incentive in increasing support specifically for more affordable homes”.
Pensioners are now able to withdraw their personal pension in cash without the need to buy an annuity. People can withdraw up to 25% of their pension pot tax-free and all of their funds subject to paying income tax.
The change also applies to self-invested personal pensions, which allow the pension holder to invest in a range of assets including farm assets like land and buildings.
With the pension changes, some farmers could be forced to sell their farm assets if a divorce resulted in an order to share the pension with their spouse and the spouse then wanted to withdraw money.
After a pension sharing order is granted, a spouse could ask for this money at any time after the divorce, potentially forcing the break-up of farming assets to fund the payout.
Whilst it is early days for the pension reform we are waiting to see how these changes play out.
In the interim farmers and business owners should seek advice if they feel that these changes are likely to affect their businesses.