The EIB funded project will improve living conditions to benefit those UK residents who are most in need of affordable housing. Urban regeneration and social cohesion are priority objectives of the EIB and the Bank lends its full support to the UK government’s goal to provide more, higher quality, and greener houses by 2020.
In 2008, two new bodies were created to regulate the recently modified legal environment for social housing. The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are respectively in charge of the regulation of the social housing sector, which includes landlord accreditation and the enforcement of housing standards, and the investment in the sector. Both organisations were represented alongside THFC and the EIB at the loan signature ceremony in London.
Simon Brooks, EIB Vice President responsible for the Bank’s activities in the UK, said, “Today’s signature represents more than simply the conclusion of the fifth EIB loan to THFC, with whom we have worked so successfully for many years. Meeting with Roger Mountford, THFC chairman; Anthony Mayer, TSA chairman; and Andrew Lean who will soon join HCA from English Partnerships, allows me the opportunity to confirm the EIB’s ongoing commitment to urban regeneration and social housing, especially in the current financial climate.”
Shortages in social housing alongside population growth and changing demographics have resulted in high demand for rented social housing. The EIB’s GBP 100 million loan will be used to increase the number of available housing units, enhance energy efficiency, improve health conditions for tenants and alleviate unemployment-related problems.
This EIB loan is timely given the current difficulty faced by many potential borrowers to access finance. THFC is a unique lender due to its not-for-profit status, providing smaller customers with an alternative to traditional banking funding. THFC and its RSL clients pass on the full advantage of the EIB’s attractive lending rates to the final beneficiaries - the rent-paying tenants.
Around 50 schemes have already been identified to benefit from this loan and more will follow.
The EIB in the UK
The European Investment Bank lent over GBP 13.7 billion to support key investment in the United Kingdom’s economy from 2003 to 2007. Last year alone, the Bank allocated GBP 3.1 billion for UK projects, ranging from investment helping UK regional development, to protecting the environment, improving national health facilities and supporting the activities of small and medium sized enterprises. Financing in the UK accounted for over 10% of the EIB’s overall lending in the EU in 2007.