Since 2018, Lloyds Banking Group has provided £9bn of funding to the UK’s social housing sector, outstripping its original £2.25bn funding commitment by £6.75bn over this period due to strong sector demand and the Group’s appetite to support more social housing and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) projects. The funding has been delivered by the Group’s Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets teams.
Commitment to Social Housing
The funding has aided the creation of more, high quality homes helping housing associations provide homes for those on the lowest incomes. In the last three years, transactions have included £350m to Midlands-based Platform Housing Group to support one of the UK’s largest social housing development programmes and a £250m sustainability linked Bond for Aster Group, which owns and manages over 30,000 homes across the south of England.
In addition, Lloyds Banking Group has also unveiled plans to deliver £1.5bn of funding to social housing in 2021 with at least a £500m going to projects with a clear ESG stated ambition to help drive robust and meaningful change. This will support the sector to accelerate its investment in creating greener homes through the construction of sustainable new-builds and the retrofit of existing properties to help the sector continue its decarbonisation journey.
ESG considerations have also been integrated into the Group’s lending and investment activities, when earlier in 2021 the Group announced furthering its transition to a low carbon economy with an expanded target of net zero by 2050, or sooner. As part of this stated target, the Group announced that Scottish Widows will halve its carbon footprint by 2030.
Good Economy Framework
Lloyds Bank and Scottish Widows, also part of Lloyds Banking Group, have become early adopters of the Good Economy Framework’s Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing. The standard provides a framework for housing associations to voluntarily disclose their ESG performance in a transparent and comparable way, which will also help inform future funding decisions.
In addition, housing associations have access to the bank’s Green Buildings Tool which enables them to quickly assess the energy efficiency of buildings and makes recommendations on how this can be improved. The bank has assessed the energy retrofit requirements of over 200,000 homes in the social housing sector and is now working with clients to enable them to measure and plan to improve the sustainability of their stock.
David Cleary, Managing Director, Head of Housing, Lloyds Bank, commented: “Sustainability is rightly dominating the agenda for the social housing sector. The market-leading amount of funding we’ve delivered in the past three years and our plan for the year ahead underlines our ongoing commitment to social housing and to the UK’s green prosperity and economic recovery.
“Measures to improve the green credentials of the UK’s social housing stock is of dual benefit for the planet and for people. It benefits tenants by creating greener homes with typically lower running costs and helps tackle the climate emergency. The development of new homes and retrofitting of existing ones also supports jobs in the small and large companies undertaking the work.”
Lloyds Bank has recently backed housing association Cartrefi Conwy by way of a £22m funding package to enable it to make 4,000 homes greener and build 1,000 new homes in North Wales. The Sustainability Linked Loan was Lloyds Bank’s first for the social housing sector and provided Cartrefi Conwy with a set of environmental and social KPIs to meet to secure margin discounts on its financing. Cartrefi Conwy used the Good Economy Framework’s reporting standard to help plan their green improvements.
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