Monday, 28 January 2013

Punching above our weight

It’s fantastic when you see in the news that a car manufacturer is creating more jobs as they build the latest model at their plant.

Did you know, though, that the social housing sector is many times the size of the car industry and contributes much more to the economy?

Until now, we have perhaps been guilty of hiding our light under a bushel, but a new report by the Northern Housing Consortium reveals what we have always known (but until now have never been able to validate publicly), and that is as a sector we are making a very positive contribution to the economy.

Researched by Sheffield Hallam University, the report considers the jobs and value created by day-to-day activity such as housing management and repairs and maintenance, as well as house building.

It reveals that across the northern region, housing organisations support £10.3 billion worth of expenditure; last year completed 8,400 new homes and support over 116,000 jobs.

This is very much reflected by a housing association like Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association. Even though we may be small in comparison with other housing organisations we certainly punch above our weight and are making our own, very important contribution to the regional economy.

With a £6 million-plus turnover we spend over £1 million on the maintenance of our homes each year, giving work to local businesses to help ensure our properties meet, and exceed, national standards.

We also spend around half a million pound a year on upgrading properties, including installing new kitchens, bathrooms and energy-saving boilers.

We are also a developer too, investing millions of pounds in recent years on new homes - again utilizing the skills and expertise of local companies to help us deliver these homes.

Over the last 20 years or so, we have, through various means, invested well over £80 million in the local economy; we directly employ 66 people and indirectly employ more.

And with the Government making noises about increasing capital investment to help stimulate the economy, going forward there is every reason to suggest that we, and everyone else in the sector, could have an even greater impact. Let’s hope so!

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