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28 November 2012

CHC welcomes investment and calls for more action from Welsh Government

Community Housing Cymru (CHC), the membership body for housing associations in Wales, has welcomed the capital investment in housing announced this week by Welsh Government and called for further action to stimulate the Welsh economy with the UK Government’s Autumn Statement due next week.

As part of the Final Budget announcement, Welsh Government will provide £16.7m for the use of public sector land for housing. The Chair and Chief Executive of CHC will use their National Symposium in Llandudno to call for more investment in housing, and adopt the type of stimulus package being debated at a UK level.

Group Chief Executive of CHC, Nick Bennett, said: “We welcome today’s announcement, and the recognition from Welsh Government that this investment not only provides extra affordable homes, but will create jobs and have a positive impact on the Welsh economy.”

“We are calling on the Welsh Government to commit “alchemy” – with the development of the Welsh Housing Bond, we will be turning revenue into capital. In response to the Autumn Statement, let’s turn words into action. It’s time for devolved government to be bold. Housing associations have demonstrated that we deliver. We delivered the One Wales target of 6,500 and exceeded it by over 2,000 homes. At UK level, Labour accept the importance of housing to help boost economic growth. In their response to the Autumn Statement, we want investment in housing to help fight poverty, create job and training opportunities and to boost the economy. Employment in Welsh not for profit housing has more than doubled to 7,000 over the last five years, supporting a total of 20,000 in the Welsh economy. It’s time to be ambitious and bold.”

CHC are anticipating further cuts to public spending from UK Government’s Autumn Statement next week which will adversely affect Wales, and believe that Welsh Government should lever capital into the social housing sector to reinvigorate the Welsh economy. Not only would additional funding provide a boost to the creation of much needed affordable homes, it would support jobs and apprenticeships at a time of record unemployment across Wales.

CHC chair Peter Cahill said. “Next week will see the UK Government’s Autumn Statement and the likelihood of further cuts in state spending and Welfare support. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has clearly spelt out his wish to boost the housing market and construction industry, he believes that the Government needs to ‘Build our way out of recession and re-build Britain for the future. Let''s […] build over the next two years, 100,000 new homes - affordable homes to rent and to buy - creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and getting our construction industry moving again.’ We’ve seen Housing associations in Wales make a fantastic start to meeting the Welsh Government’s target of 7,500, with approximately 2,500 houses being built this year. It’s time to get Wales working again.”