COUNCILS could earn themselves cash by bringing empty homes back into use, the Government announced this week.
Local authorities can earn a reward equal to the amount of council tax raised from each property they reoccupy, said Communities Minister Andrew Stunell.
West Yorkshire has over 47,000 empty homes, almost 8,000 of which are in Kirklees and just over 5,000 in Calderdale, according to official figures.
The scheme, called the New Homes Bonus, is designed to rid neighbourhoods of dereliction, vandalism and anti-social behaviour associated with unoccupied properties.
Councils may spend money earned in the scheme on any area that will benefit the local community.
Neighbours are encouraged to report empty homes to their council.
Mr Stunell said: “With as many as 300,000 long-term empty properties across the UK, this precious resource is being squandered.
“Empty properties should instead be treated as an asset and brought back into use for those families that need somewhere to live.
“It’s vital that local communities, councils and owners of empty properties work together to bring properties back into use and begin to tackle this problem that is blighting our local communities.”