The government yesterday launched its Midlands Energy strategy, which is expected to boost the supply of much needed new homes in the region.
It is hoped that the £392m package of investment into the Midlands Engine project will provide a stimulus to the region’s productivity akin to the Northern Powerhouse concept, designed to rival London and the South East as the main driver of economic growth in the country, by pooling the strengths of the cities and towns of the north as one cohesive unit.
The investment will support projects including creating a global hub for space technology in Leicester, £12m to improve road connections around Loughborough and £11m for the regeneration of Derby city centre.
Sir John Peace, chair of the Midlands Engine, said: “We have come together across a wider geography than has been attempted before – to deliver a collective view of what the Midlands can achieve. We are confident in our physical, economic, commercial and cultural assets – and in our people -and our potential to contribute more to the success of UK plc.
“We believe that with the right investments in place the Midlands can raise its performance to match global cities like Singapore, Shanghai and New York. We can grow faster and generate more wealth, helping the government to create an economy that serves everyone well.”
The announcement of the Midlands Engine strategy is not just an exciting commitment to the region and its role in the economic growth of the country, but should also help boost the supply of much needed new housing in the region.
“The money announced yesterday to build the infrastructure necessary to make developments viable, to regenerate town centres and the recommitment to Garden Cities and Villages will provide a welcome boost for housing levels,” said Richard Connolly, CEO of Rentplus.
However, he believes that these new homes will only meet the region’s needs if they are “affordable for local people”.
He continued: “The National Housing Federation’s Home Truths report shows that both the East and West Midlands’ housing markets are just as broken as the rest of the UK. In the East Midlands the income needed for an average mortgage is £43,000, while the average salary is just £26,000.
“In the West Midlands house prices are over eight times average salaries. Therefore for many workers traditional single ownership properties will remain beyond their reach even with a substantial increase in housing supply.”