CUMBRIA will get an extra £4.9m of public money next year as a reward for building thousands of new homes.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins confirmed the county would get a share of the £900m New Homes Bonus allocated to England’s 353 councils.

As part of the initiative, Eden will get £597,288 and South Lakeland £358,053.

The New Homes Bonus, launched in 2011, matches the additional council tax raised for new homes and empty homes brought back into use. Councils are then free to use that funding as they see fit to benefit their local area – from providing new facilities to protecting frontline services or freezing council tax.

New figures from the National House Building Council show a 28 per cent increase in housing supply in 2013 compared to the previous year, while housebuilding is at its highest level since 2007.