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Community Housing Cymru sponsorship feature

Opportunity knocks …..

Last month, we heard that the Welsh Government was to allocate an additional £18.26million funding for housing as a result of the consequential to Wales following the UK Government’s decision to freeze council tax in England next year. This additional investment will provide a much needed boost to the creation of more affordable homes and help those on growing waiting lists, whilst acting as an economic stimulus for the Welsh economy by supporting jobs and apprenticeships at a time of record unemployment across Wales.

The Chancellor’s autumn statement consequential of £216 million provides a further opportunity to boost the creation of much needed affordable homes, jobs and apprenticeships. Following the comprehensive spending review, up to £122.5 million has been cut from the Social Housing Grant budget over 3 years. £122.5million could lever in a total investment of £250 million over three years, deliver around 1,877 new affordable homes, support at least 2,500 jobs and generate up to 250 apprenticeship opportunities.

Combining an investment of £122.5 million in the social housing sector with a sustainable rent benchmark would equip the sector to perform the revenue into capital function for other community services too.

We recently commissioned the Welsh Economic Research Unit (WERU) to compile a report looking at the wider economic impact of our work and in addition to building 2033 new affordable homes last year, exceeding the One Wales target by 23%, our sector invested £802 million into the economy with almost 80% of that investment retained in Wales.

In addition to that, members spent £425 million on regenerating projects including £235 million on maintenance, repairs and upgrading homes – making them more energy efficient for tenants. The sector also employed 6,300 people in 2010/11; for every person employed directly by our sector, another two jobs are supported in the economy – equating to 17,900 jobs across Wales with many members also undertaking a wide range of activities including training, mentoring and apprenticeship schemes to support individuals to return to work.

History shows that we were able to demonstrate with the additional investment from the strategic capital investment fund that the sector has the ability to spend resources in the Welsh economy quickly and effectively. We’re encouraged by the announcement that we are to receive a direct investment of £9.26 million into social housing, and see this as an indication that Welsh Government has confidence in our sector to deliver. However, the decision about how the Autumn statement consequential is to be spent provides the ultimate test of where housing sits as a priority for growth and justice.

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