Wheatley draws down £72m of European funding

Wheatley Group — Scotland’s biggest social landlord — said on Tuesday it has drawn down £72 million of funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) at “a highly-competitive rate” to build and improve more homes across Scotland.

“The funding deal – at a rate of under 1.70% fixed over 22 years – will enable the UK’s largest builder of homes for social rent to bolster its ambitious plans to increase the supply of quality, affordable housing across the country,” said Wheatley.

Wheatley has been named the UK’s biggest developer of social-rented homes for the past three years by Inside Housing magazine.

The £72 million is the second tranche of an £185 million deal agreed with the EIB in 2018.

Wheatley Group chair Alastair MacNish said: “Despite today’s unprecedented challenges, we continue to provide the people we work for with the support they badly need in these difficult times.

“This latest investment by EIB, at such a low interest rate, is a considerable boost to these efforts and a huge vote of confidence in our group, our staff and in Scotland.”

MacNish said Wheatley was in a strong position to restart its new-build programme and investment in improving existing homes as soon as coronavirus restrictions were lifted.

The original £185 million of new EIB funding was announced in July, 2018, at a community event in Glasgow’s Gallowgate attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and EIB Vice President Jonathan Taylor.

The first £85 million tranche of funding was drawn down in October last year.

The latest deal brings the total amount of private and public investment raised by Wheatley in the last six years to over £1 billion.

Wheatley’s new strategic plan includes building over 7,500 affordable homes over the next five years.

These will be spread from Balloch, Dumbarton and Glasgow in the west, through West Lothian, Edinburgh and North Berwick in the east to Dumfries and Galloway in the south.