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26 September 2013

Green light for £120m new housing grant scheme

An innovative new housing finance scheme will be launched by the Welsh Government today.

The package includes around £120 million of Welsh Government funding over the next 30 years and will contribute directly to the building of over 1000 new affordable homes across Wales.

Twenty Housing Associations are taking part in the scheme, with coverage across all 22 local authority areas in Wales. Construction work on the first projects will commence in 2013.

As part of the scheme, M&G Investments are providing the main new source of finance for Wales’s Registered Social Landlords, in light of the lack of long term funding currently available from the banks and building societies.

Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration said: “Delivering quality, affordable housing to the people of Wales is my priority and so I am delighted to launch this important and innovative new package today.

“It’s vital that the private and public sectors are supported in building new homes so that we can continue to work towards, and indeed exceed our target of providing 7,500 affordable homes during the term of this Welsh Government.

“This scheme is just the beginning in my search for new ways of increasing housing supply in Wales. Building new homes is important not only in meeting the growing housing need of communities but also as a way of providing work to help people out of poverty and to counter the highly damaging effects of the UK Government’s ‘bedroom tax’.

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance said: “The Welsh Housing Finance Grant Scheme shows our commitment to finding new and innovative ways of investing in affordable housing across Wales. As budgets get tighter we have to consider all avenues of funding that are available to us to help us deliver our priorities.

“This scheme is a real example of what can be achieved when the public sector and private sector work together. Following the success of this initiative, I now hope we can use this type of funding to generate more investment in affordable housing."

Nick Bennett, Group Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said: “With a number of housing associations not having previously used other types of borrowing (such as bonds), this has provided an opportunity to innovate. This partnership and the shared mutual interest in increasing housing supply means Housing Associations will provide the borrowing capacity and Welsh Government the source of revenue grant.”

Mark Davie, Head of Social Housing at M&G Investments said: “We are pleased to support this exciting initiative by the Welsh Government, which sees Welsh housing associations gain access to £153m of long term funding, in order to meet their house-building goals over the coming years.”

The launch, held at the Linc building on Newport Road, also provided the Ministers with an opportunity to visit the site of Bronte House - anticipated to be one of the first affordable housing projects funded under the innovative Welsh Housing Finance Grant Scheme.

Bronte House, which is being developed by Linc Cymru, will consist of 38 apartments with a mix of 16 one bed and 22 two bed units. It will be targeted at people currently living in housing association and local authority accommodation who wish to downsize from accommodation that might now be too large for their needs.

Further projects have already been approved at Tyddyn Pandy, in Caernarfon and Gwaun Helyg in Blaenau Gwent, with more set to be approved across Wales shortly.