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Wed June 16 2021

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Three housing associations plan £30bn merger

6 Apr 16 Housing associations L&Q, The Hyde Group and East Thames are in merger talks with a view to creating one of the country’s top four largest house builders.

Together, the three organisations reckon that they will be able to build 100,000 new homes across London and the southeast, which is 35,000 more than they are likely to build separately. This would represent an investment of £25bn over the next 10 years.

The new organisation, which would also be responsible for managing 135,000 existing homes, would be worth an estimated £30bn, they said.

The 35,000 additional new homes built as a result of this proposed merger represents an investment of £9bn.

Under the merger plan, a new training academy will be established with a £5m a year increase in investment over existing training budgets.

As a result of the merger, L&Q, The Hyde Group and East Thames reckon they will be able to deliver efficiency savings of £50m a year within five years, primarily through combining back office functions, investment in IT and combined buying power.

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Housing minister Brandon Lewis welcomed the news. “This shows what can be achieved by combining the strengths of each organisation,” he said. “It will make a real difference to increase their capacity to build, house and help thousands of people across London and the southeast. I welcome the added focus on helping our ageing population and the launch of a training academy for staff and residents. In my mind, this is exactly what housing associations should be doing.”

L&Q chief executive David Montague is the CEO designate of the new merged organisation and Hyde Group chief executive Elaine Bailey is deputy CEO designate. Yvonne Arrowsmith will continue as chief executive of East Thames, which will become a subsidiary of the new organisation. The chair designate is Aubrey Adams from L&Q and the deputy chair designate is Mark Sebba from Hyde.

David Montague said: “Our plans will allow us to tackle the housing crisis head on, driving greater efficiency, building more homes, creating beautiful new places and sustainable, independent communities. At the heart of our united mission will be the continued provision of affordable homes for those in need.”

Elaine Bailey added: “The combined strength of all three associations means that we will be able to deliver a house building programme that would have been impossible to achieve for each organisation alone. As well as this, we want to lead the sector in customer service, meeting the service aspirations of all our residents across a range of housing tenures. Put simply, we are stronger together – more financially capable of delivering and managing our stock than we are apart. Every penny that we make will be invested back into the services we deliver and into building much needed homes."

Yvonne Arrowsmith, chief executive of East Thames, said: “We know there is a high demand for affordable housing amongst the communities we work with as well as major opportunities for growth. Joining with L&Q and Hyde enables us to remain committed to these communities and to maximize our impact there. It also brings the opportunity to grow much needed care and support services for vulnerable or elderly residents, which can be expanded across L&Q and Hyde’s areas of operation, stretching as far as Hampshire and Sussex. We know that with the financial strength of all three combined organisations we can achieve so much more and are excited about what this will mean for our current residents, staff and the many partner organisations we currently work with.”

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