Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Investment, Cllr Paul Moore, is calling on local authorities to increase investment in housing in a bid to drive economic growth.
“Here in Sandwell we know that the money we put into housing is a win-win.
“Our housing investment programme has not only improved the homes our people live in. It has also boosted the local economy to the tune of some £16 million, created over 500 new jobs and resulted in over 40 apprenticeships.
“Our housing stock is currently undergoing a £50m programme of works, which includes new kitchens, roofing panels and heating systems. We’re also investing £20m to transform seven high-rise residential blocks.
“This will obviously make a real difference to residents’ lives – and for the better.
“But the programme has also given us incredible scope to support local businesses and have a positive impact on the community by creating opportunities for training and employment.
“We’ve spent no less than £16m so far with local suppliers and sub-contractors and this is a figure that makes me extremely proud.
“What’s more, according to a study by the Federation of Small Businesses*, this spend will have resulted in a total benefit of £26.4m for Sandwell, which puts into perspective the extent to which our housing investment has so far affected the local economy.
“Thanks to the programme 543 new jobs have been created, 42 apprentices have been appointed – and local primary and secondary schools are also benefiting.
“Pupils there are getting a real insight into the world of construction through health and safety talks, career workshops and work placements.
“We could not have achieved all this in Sandwell without the partnership working we have fostered with our contractors: Keepmoat, Lovell, VINCI and Wates Living Space.
“By working together we’ve managed to ensure that there are social and economic benefits for the people of Sandwell and I am confident that we will continue to build on this as our work together continues.
“It’s important to remember that – although many headlines right now focus on the increased need for new housing – we also have to think about our existing social housing and regeneration projects.
“They have to be at the forefront of councils’ thinking.
“We believe that our work in Sandwell is evidence that the community’s return for this investment can be far reaching.
“The bottom line is that investment is a catalyst for growth. Sandwell’s experience demonstrates this.
“There are many councils up and down the country already doing their best to make sure that the hard cash they spend on regeneration brings with it extra benefits to the local economy.
“If we all do this, it can only be for the good of people, their homes – and their chances in life.”