Today I met representatives of the Homes for the South West (H4SW) group of housing associations to discuss the role of house building – particularly the building of affordable housing – in levelling up the South West’s economy. It was great to speak with Chief Executive of Curo and Chair of H4SW, Victor da Cunha, and Executive Director of Abri, Andy Skarzynski.
The discussion focussed on issues impacting housing in Somerton & Frome and the need to support local people with more affordable housing, which will bring greater investment and economic activity to the area.
House-building is key in making sure we continue to meet the housing needs of people in the South West, and ensuring our region’s economy can bounce back stronger after the challenges of Covid-19. We need more affordable, sustainable and social housing in Somerton & Frome and I’m ready to work with Homes for the South West to help facilitate this and create not only homes, but also jobs and investment for our communities.
H4SW’s manifesto sets out a commitment to a £4 billion programme to deliver 25,000 new homes over the next 5 years. The manifesto also includes a pledge to increase this by another 20,000 homes if Government can provide additional support.
House building will be critical to the success of the South West’s recovery from COVID-19 and addressing longstanding inequalities according to the coalition. The region’s job market has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic, highlighting a reliance on low-wage sectors including tourism and hospitality. This sits alongside prohibitively high house prices in many areas[ii] with affordability expected to worsen as house prices across the region continue to soar.