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18 November 2015

Housing associations provide major boost to Welsh economy

An independent study has revealed that, despite a continuing difficult economic climate, Welsh housing associations are continuing to boost the economy and directly contributed more than £1bn in 2014/15.

Launched today (18th November), the findings are part of the latest Welsh Economy Research Unit (WERU) report, commissioned by Community Housing Cymru (CHC), which focuses on the wider economic impact of the social housing sector in Wales.

The report reveals that 79%, or £872.8m, of the direct £1.1bn spend was retained in Wales. Welsh housing associations also supported a total output of over £2bn in 2014/15 which is made up of direct and indirect spend. Furthermore, the sector’s direct Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2014/15 was an estimated £278m.

As part of this spend, housing associations built 1,923 affordable new homes in 2014/15, an increase of 4% from the homes provided in 2013/14. 517 of these homes were provided without Social Housing Grant. This contribution means that the sector is on target to meet the 10,000 affordable homes target for this term of Government set in the Housing Supply Pact between CHC and the Welsh Government.

Welsh housing associations spent £301m on repairs and maintenance in 2014/15 (27% of sector direct spend). A further 21% of the sector’s direct spend was spent on construction. A total of £532m was spent on regeneration activities in 2014/15.

In less than a decade, Welsh housing associations have spent around £3bn in the Welsh economy on building and maintaining properties. However, the report clearly illustrates that the economic impact of the sector goes beyond bricks and mortar.

The sector’s contribution to employment increased in 2014/15, cementing the sector’s position as a major employer in Wales. A total of 8,800 people (full time equivalents) are directly employed by the sector and, for every direct job provided, almost two other jobs are supported in the Welsh economy. This equates to around 23,000 full time equivalent jobs in Wales. £7m was spent on training budgets in 2014/15, and a further £2.1m was spent on employment support and apprenticeships.

Stuart Ropke, CHC Group Chief Executive, said: “This year’s report further demonstrates the impact of housing associations on the Welsh economy and the communities we serve.

“Housing associations are independent organisations. Our independence allows us to draw in millions of pounds of private finance to provide affordable homes, create jobs and stimulate the economy. As a sector we continue to show resilience through innovative working, and the latest WERU figures prove that the Welsh economy is reaping the benefits.”

You can read the full report here.