An academic from one of the West Midlands Combined Universities is a leading contributor to a new report evidencing how housing is a key factor in accelerating prosperity in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) area.
Guy Daly is Executive Dean of Coventry University’s Faculty of Health & Life Sciences and a member of the Human City Institute, one of two West Midlands’ research charities – the other being Futures Network West Midlands – that authored the report.
Entitled, ‘Accelerating Prosperity through Housing in the West Midlands’, the report confirms that housing is a crucial driver of economic growth and productivity in the WMCA area, and a vital part of infrastructure that supports economic development and attracts and retains a skilled workforce.
The report says that housing investment generates employment; both directly and through multiplier effects in the construction supply chain and ancillary industries. It also makes important contributions to improving the health, well-being and life chances of West Midlands’ citizens.
The WMCA, consisting of constituent local authorities Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton, plus non-constituent local authorities in the wider region, and local enterprise partnerships, faces considerable housing challenges, the report reveals.
Key challenges include a shortfall in housing supply, rising homelessness and rough sleeping, overcrowding and fuel poverty in many low income households, the worsening affordability of both home ownership and private renting, a dwindling social housing stock, and central government reductions in grant support for local council services.
WMCU aims to support the combined authority in addressing the housing shortage currently facing the region. A new Birmingham City University project exploring whether post-war high-rise public housing still has a role to play in providing homes, is an example of the expert input that WMCU partner institutions can contribute.