GHA boosted Scots economy by £2bn over past 15 years

The Scottish economy has received a £2 billion boost and thousands of additional jobs as a result of an investment programme by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), according to research today.

GHA tenant chair Bernadette Hewitt said social housing had been a 'key element in the resurgence' of Glasgow. Picture: Bill Fleming

A study by the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) at the University of Strathclyde indicates that expenditure by GHA over the last 15 years contributed £2bn to Scotland’s gross domestic product (GDP) and supported an average of 2,425 full-time equivalent jobs per year.

The association is Scotland’s largest social housing provider and the investment it has made since 2003 is thought to be the biggest of its kind in Europe.

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The study reviewed the economic impact of the organisation’s modernisation of tens of thousands of former city council homes since the housing stock transfer in 2003, as well as its construction of affordable new housing. GHA, the largest subsidiary of property management group Wheatley, invested almost £1.6bn upgrading more than 70,000 homes, the study said.

It also invested £285m to build affordable houses and flats in Glasgow and spent close to £70m on community infrastructure.

The research found the organisation constructed a total of 2,485 new homes between 2003 and 2017 and currently has 957 under construction, with a further 1,400 in the pipeline.

An additional £45m has been invested in community regeneration, supporting and improving the wellbeing of tenants, some of whom are “among Glasgow’s most vulnerable people”.

The report revealed that during the year 2016/17, GHA activities contributed £153m to the Scottish economy.

As of March last year, the association’s housing stock, including homes currently under construction, was valued at £1.2bn.

Graeme Roy of the FAI said: “Our analysis examines the economic contribution of GHA through its day-to-day activities and traces the knock-on boost to the wider Glasgow and Scottish economy through its supply chain.”

He said the results showed a “substantial contribution”.

GHA’s tenant chair, Bernadette Hewitt, said: “The transformation of social housing in Glasgow has been a key element in the resurgence of this great city over the past 15 years.

“GHA’s massive modernisation, demolition and re-provisioning programme has changed not only the Glasgow skyline, it has ensured tens of thousands of families across the city are living in modern, warm, safe and fuel-efficient homes.”

Hewitt, who lives in a GHA house in Barmulloch, added: “This new research confirms that, as well as massively improving homes and communities across the city, our investment and new-build programmes have generated enormous economic and employment benefits to Glasgow and Scotland.”