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HOME IMPROVEMENTS GET£3.8M GRANTS BOOST

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Plans to offer home improvement agencies nearly£4m in grants which will help the elderly, the disabled and those o...
Plans to offer home improvement agencies nearly £4m in grants which will help the elderly, the disabled and those on low incomes, have been announced by environment minister Robert Jones.

Grants totalling £3.8m will go to 129 local councils in England to support the work of agency schemes assisting with home repairs and improvements.

'The grant offers I am announcing today show our commitment to helping the elderly, the disabled and those on low incomes carry out repairs and improvements to their homes,' Mr Jones said.

'For home owners like these, who are most in need, agencies provide a valuable service offering comprehensive advice and support on securing quality repairs and improvements.'

'I am also pleased to announce that we have invited Care and Repair Ltd to continue in its role as the national co-ordinating body to help develop the agency network even further over the next five years.'

The grant offers have been made to individual local authorities; the breakdown, region by region is as follows:

London £687,498; North West £525,952; East Midlands £399,652; Eastern £384,238; South East £601,916; North East £169,724; Yorkshire and Humberside £299,696; West Midlands £307,445; South West £362,566 and Merseyside £120,455.

On 1 November last year, following a review, the government announced the continuation of the home improvement agency grant programme which supports agencies on a maximum 50 per cent running costs basis.

Grant is channelled through local councils who are responsible for assessing the need for home improvement agency services in their areas and for bidding for grants on behalf of schemes.

Councils are responsible for claiming on their behalf the grant due to them from the government and for ensuring they fulfil the conditions on which it is to be paid.

Care and Repair Ltd were appointed by the government as the national co-ordinating body for agencies in 1991 for a period of four years. The government has invited Care and Repair to continue in the role for five years beginning on 1 April this year. The detailed arrangements are still the subject of negotiation.

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