Councils which encourage people to live on boats to ease the housing crisis will be given financial rewards, the housing minister has said.
Grant Shapps has told councils that residential boats will be eligible for the new homes bonus, where the government matches the council tax on a dwelling for six years. He said the money could be used to attract further private investment and drive the regeneration of the land around parts of the country’s waterways.
Mr Shapps said councils should consider how new powers to localise control over housing provision could mean that more people choose to live in boats in areas where they would otherwise not be able to afford to live.
The UK’s current housing shortage requires around 60,000 new homes to be built per quarter for the shortfall to be met. Mr Shapps said that houseboats are an example of how ‘unconventional housing’ can be used to tackle the crisis.