Greenock-based River Clyde Homes said it will use the £117m pot provided by Royal Bank of Scotland to raise living standards in the affordable housing market, with a focus on the sustainability and energy efficiency of existing properties, in support of the Scottish journey to net zero and in recognition of the current rising cost of living.
The funding package comprises £20m of new funding along with a £97.5m refinancing restructure, and River Clyde Homes said the overall sum will enable it to pursue its key investment priorities for tenants, centred on increasing thermal comfort, reducing energy demand and bills, improving air quality, lowering carbon emissions, and creating future-proofed homes. Formed in 2007, the organisation has about 300 staff, manages more than 6,000 homes and provides factoring services to a further 2,200 customers in the Inverclyde area – and points out that given its scale it is viewed by the Scottish Housing Regulator as being of systemic importance to the ongoing provision of affordable housing in Scotland.
RBS said the announcement continues to deliver on its commitment, which it is set to complete this year, to provide £3 billion to support the advancement of the UK’s social housing sector. The lender recently published the findings of its November 2022 Springboard to Sustainability Report that found meeting net zero targets would give Scotland’s economy a £22bn revenue boost by 2030. It said the buildings sector accounted for 44 per cent of the revenue opportunity that could be realised through the delivery of improvements to premises such as insulation and the installation of heat pumps.
River Clyde Homes executive group services director John Wright cheered the organisation, which is run as a registered charity and monitored and regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator, continuing its relationship with RBS as a key funding partner, dating back to 2007. He added: “Securing this funding is a major milestone for River Clyde Homes and the flexibility within this funding package will help us to deliver our future ambitions. These include enabling significant investment to modernise existing homes for customers and helping River Clyde Homes on its journey towards net zero. This investment will not only assist the organisation to lower its carbon footprint, but will also help to reduce running costs for customers in the face of spiralling energy prices.”
David Horne, relationship manager at RBS, whose owner NatWest Group in October upgraded expectations for the year as it reported that third-quarter pre-tax operating profit amounted to £1.1bn, said the funding “will enable the continued support for the development and provision of much-needed good quality affordable housing in Inverclyde”. He added: “The funding structure is designed to support the association as they adapt to short-term challenges in the market such as rising interest rates and inflation, whilst also providing them with long-term stability and confidence to deliver vital infrastructure projects that raise living standards and build closer communities. At [RBS], we remain committed to tackling the challenges facing the UK’s housing sector while also improving sustainability within the industry.”