Birmingham City Council set to approve more and better housing

Birmingham City Council is set to approve a raft of housing measures at Cabinet on Monday 17 March 2014, which include building new council houses, improving existing council housing and procuring new repair and maintenance contracts for council housing.

The council is set to approve the full business case for the construction of 106 new council houses for rent at Cabinet on Monday 17 March ('Keeping Birmingham Building': continuing housing growth through Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT): approval of full business case and recommended tender awards).  The opportunity to continue the Council's housing development programme through the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) is due to procurement efficiencies and the availability of a windfall grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).  As well as providing more affordable houses for rent, the scheme will boost the economy and support the further creation of training and apprenticeship places.

Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for Development, Jobs and Skills, Cllr Tahir Ali, said: “There are around 1060 homes under construction at the moment and 730 of these will complete during the financial year 2014/15.  Thanks to our excellent track record in delivering affordable housing for our residents, the Homes and Communities Agency has offered us another £3.4million to help build more affordable rented homes and tackle inequality and deprivation in the city. 

“Not only that but the money spent on construction will give a welcome boost to the building and supply chain sectors and create further opportunities for apprenticeships.  The construction industry imports less than 8% of resources which means that 90% of the money spent on this construction will stay in the UK, much of it in Birmingham, and the BMHT new build programmed is committed to creating full time apprenticeships. ”

Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for Commissioning, Contracting and Improvement, Cllr Stewart Stacey, added: “The council's procurement processes in 2013/14 have been extremely efficient.  Because of this we have more funding than expected to plough into our building programmes and the local economy.  Despite the huge budget pressures we are under, our processes and track record in delivery mean that we can continue to expand our housing stock.”

The houses will be built in Bartley Green, Brandwood, Handsworth, Handsworth Wood, Lozells, Nechells and Weoley and will be completed and handed over by 20 March 2015.

In addition to the report on new council houses, Cabinet will also be asked to approve the full business case for the annual investment programme of £58million to deliver improvements to around 8,000 existing council properties (Birmingham council housing investment programme 2014/15).  This will include the provision of new kitchens and bathrooms, replacing older heating systems with new condensing boilers, external insulation, cavity wall and loft insulation, door and roof replacements and structural works to non-traditional construction type properties.  £800k will also be allocated to District Committees for further investment. 

Deputy Leader for Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “We own and manage more than 63,000 residential properties which provide affordable homes for some of our most deprived and vulnerable citizens.  We need to invest in our properties in order to make them energy efficient, warm and healthy places in which to live.  This £58million investment programme will support substantial improvements to 8,000 of our properties, helping to bring residents out of fuel poverty and reducing Birmingham's carbon dioxide emissions too.  It will also ensure that our properties don't fall into disrepair and can help many more of our citizens in years to come.”

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For further media information contact Debbie Harrison on 0121 303 4476 / 078801 80385

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