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'Welsh Government on target to deliver 7,500 new affordable homes'

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'Welsh Government on target to deliver 7,500 new affordable homes'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development, Finance

Welsh Government on target to deliver 7,500 new affordable homes Welsh Government on target to deliver 7,500 new affordable homes

The Welsh Government is on track to realising a target of 7,500 new affordable homes by 2015, independent research has suggested.

However, the Welsh Economic Research Unit (WERU) warned that a predicted 40% cut in investment over the coming years will put the target at risk.

The report - which was commissioned by Community Housing Cymru - also discovered that Welsh housing associations have provided 1973 new homes over 2011/12, more than a quarter of the 7,500 target.

Of the 1973, 73% were built using social housing grants given to HAs by the Welsh Government. WERU has forecast that production could drop to 850 new homes a year unless the current investment level is sustained.

Welsh HAs spent an estimated total £951 million in 2011/12, up 16% from the previous year.

WERU's research also looked at the contribution the sector made to employment. It found that this too rose, with 7,500 people directly employed by a housing association – but for every direct job provided, almost two other jobs were supported by the sector. In 2011/12 this amounted to 20,200 full time equivalents across Wales – a rise of 15% from the previous year.

Nick Bennett, Group Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said: "This report demonstrates the role housing has in Welsh economic growth. Housing Associations are certainly doing their bit to help the Welsh economy- but there’s more to do.

"Critically the social housing sector is the only area of major capital expenditure which is levering in so much additional private sector investment. This report is proof that investing in our sector not only provides much needed homes, but also acts as an economic stimulus. If current investment is not sustained, we are in danger of failing to reach the 7,500 target.”

Peter Cahill, Chair of Community Housing Cymru, added: "If Wales is to recover economically policy makers need to invest in housing. By investing in our sector – a sector with ability and track record to deliver, we can build our way out of recession, create hundreds of jobs in the process while increasing supply to ensure that the people of Wales have access to secure and affordable housing, in communities where they want to live.”

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