Housing scheme 'aids richer areas'
Better-off parts of the country are benefiting by up to a fifth more than deprived neighbourhoods from a Government fund to encourage more homes to be built, Labour said.
Shadow housing minister Alison Seabeck said her research - confirmed by Commons officials - shows there is a 20% gap between the cash received by the 10 richest and 10 poorest local councils.
Under the New Homes Bonus initiative, the Government matches the council tax raised through new homes for the first six years, with councils receiving up to 36% more for affordable homes. But Labour said the result is an "unfair" distribution of the extra cash.
Richmondshire, in Foreign Secretary William Hague's Yorkshire constituency, qualified for £56,449 for adding nine homes while Scarborough could claim only £7,356 for adding nearly three times as many, Ms Seabeck said.
The inequality would worsen in later years when the bonus is funded by "top slicing" existing funding - potentially diverting cash from poorer areas.
Ms Seabeck said: "This research shows how deeply unfair the Tory-led Government's flagship housing policy is. It cannot be right that one council can receive nearly £6,000 more in funding for each new home than another. Taken together with the high cost and low output of the New Homes Bonus, it's clearly time for the Tory-led Government to go back to the drawing board."
A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "The Government is committed to ensuring that local authorities have strong incentives to support growth and that they receive the benefits, not just the costs.
"The scheme will pay grants equal to the national average for the council tax band on each additional property, and paid for the following six years as an un-ringfenced grant to incentivise local authorities to build the types of homes people want and need, in the places that people want them.
"Under the New Homes Bonus, three out of the five top earners this year are in the North or Midlands. This is in part because the extra cash is not only going towards building new homes, but also encouraging councils to bring old homes back into use.
"The scheme will also reward the provision of affordable homes, with up to 36% more than for a similar market home, equivalent to more than a £2,000 premium for every affordable home over six years."