Finance Minister for the Welsh Government, Jane Hutt, announced this week details of £76.5 million boost to funds for the execution of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for Growth and Jobs, with £30 million of the funds to be directed to the housing sector.
Out of the £30 million package given towards housing, £10 million will be given to the Houses into Homes initiative, a project aimed at bringing empty homes in Wales back into use. The further £20 million will be given to the Social Housing Grant, providing housing for individuals and families that may be affected as a result of the UK Government’s reductions in Housing Benefits
Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: “The main benefits of investment are gained over the long term. But in present circumstances, the jobs created in constructing new infrastructure are vitally important, and this latest package is expected to support around 1,400 jobs during the construction phase.
“This significant package of investment clearly demonstrates our commitment to stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, mitigating the impact of the UK Government’s Welfare Reforms and reducing poverty in Wales.”
Douglas Haig, RLA Welsh director, commented: “We strongly welcome the increased investment into Houses into Homes programme. Empty properties are an incredible waste of resource but in many cases are an inevitable consequence of tighter margins and not having the capital to re-invest to keep them up to standard. This fund is a great help to get some of these properties back into use but due to the criteria many still cannot access this fund and this still needs to be addressed.
“It is disappointing that the Welsh Government have simply bolstered the Social Housing Grant when they could have had a greater effect on the housing shortage with a recyclable loan available to the private sector that could provide many more homes.”