- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
A Welsh Government project to deliver 470 made-in-Wales affordable, sustainable homes has been praised by Joyce Watson MS.
The Innovative Housing Programme funds Welsh companies and supply chains to manufacture factory-built homes, using Welsh timber and materials.
Speaking in the Senedd on Wednesday, Labour’s Joyce Watson said the investment was “a welcome boost during these uncertain times” – and asked how many training and apprenticeship opportunities the scheme will support.
Mrs Watson, who chairs the Welsh Parliament’s cross-party construction group and represents the Mid and West Wales region, said:
“£35 million of investment will go to local companies, and I think it’s worth repeating that it’s local companies and their supply chains, and that’s a welcome boost during these uncertain times. And I’m even more pleased that a number of those are bringing much-needed work into my region during what is, undoubtedly, a challenging time.”
The new funding adds to the 1,400 homes already delivered under the scheme, taking the total investment over the last four years to more than £125 million.
Through the scheme, Bala-based company Williams Homes has helped manufacture 38 timber-framed homes. The low carbon buildings have extremely low running costs, putting more money in tenants’ pockets.
Answering for the government, housing minister Julie James said:
“Thank you, Joyce. I know of your passion for getting apprentices into the construction industry and, in particular, a more diverse group of apprentices, including your championing of women in construction for many years. You’ll know I share your enthusiasm to do that.
“I’m really pleased that the innovative housing programme has placed Wales at the vanguard of housing innovation and creativity within the UK. We’re investing £45 million into the modular housing industry in Wales this year alone, which generates potentially hundreds of new local jobs and training opportunities with Welsh small and medium-sized enterprises and their local supply chains. Modern methods of construction—and I know you know this already—is a new industry that shows itself able to attract an increasingly diverse workforce, including encouraging more women and younger entrants into construction. It’s new and better social housing, but it kick starts a whole new industry that plays an important role in the economic green recovery.
“So, we expect that the materials and components used in this next generation of MMC homes will have a Welsh-first approach and preference is shown towards materials and labour so more—ah, got my tongue in a twist—materials and labour sourced locally within Wales, before seeking alternatives from the wider global economy. And we’ve been working really hard with the MMC providers through the innovative housing programme to both maximise the Welsh supply chain and the number of jobs and training opportunities that that supply chain generates locally as a result, so that the homes built locally will be built by local people for local people.”