A top CEO at Legal and General Group says its £4 billion investment into the West Midlands will transform the lives of local people. Andrew Kail, who heads up the Retirement Institutional division of L&G, said housing would be at the centre of the seven-year investment.
Speaking at Gardeners’ World Live last week where L&G were sponsors, Mr Kail offered his perspective on how locals on the ground will experience the £4bn deal. He said: “For local people, I think this is absolutely fantastic.
“It’s transformational in many ways. The people that are going to be living in the houses we develop in the future, their quality of life should be transformed hugely.
READ MORE: Pension group to invest £4bn in housing and jobs across the West Midlands
“If you think about job creation as such schemes develop, hopefully they will go to local workers and create jobs. Our schemes are generally about work, rest and play, so it’s not just living, it’s not just working, but it’s also leisure facilities too.”
Announced by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and L&G Group CEO Sir Nigel Wilson last month (May 2022), the funding will go towards major projects across the region. Urban regeneration, particularly housing, is at the heart of the plans.
“I think it’s really exciting,” Mr Kail continued. “At the centre of the scheme is housing. If you look at where the investment will go, it’s really about working with the local authority to deliver on their ambitions of building more houses, particularly affordable houses, across the region.”
The first project to receive funding will be The Junction in Oldbury , a brownfield site that has been unused for over 20 years. The West Midlands Combined Authority said this will deliver 234 energy-efficient homes, of which ‘nearly 50 per cent’ will be affordable.
The agreement will fund developments providing a minimum of 20 per cent affordable housing and also use the ‘brownfield first’ approach to regenerate derelict land across the region.
Asked what it was about the West Midlands that attracted this investment, Mr Kail said: “Birmingham is a great city. It’s an incredible powerhouse of a city. We’ve seen in recent years a number of major corporations move to the West Midlands to build on the heritage, so it’s just obvious, but also exciting that we’d want to increase our presence in the region.
“From an L&G perspective, urban regeneration is really core to what we do. We have a phrase that says cities are not overdeveloped, they’re under-demolished. There are lots of old buildings and brownfield sites that are well past their sell-by dates.”
The £4 billion outlined in the scheme will come from L&G pension schemes and is the first major Levelling Up deal since the government’s White Paper was produced in February. The cash is then invested into long-term assets like property and real estate, eventually creating commercial returns for the group and its shareholders.
Mr Kail said: “It’s very important to us that we make those profits because we have to reinvest in future projects. So it’s about growing not just the West Midlands, but growing L&G too.
“It’s great to see the money go to work in a way that is win-win, and it’s fantastic to watch the schemes grow over time. The plans are interesting and the investment is huge, but when you actually get to walk around the buildings and talk to people, comparing and contrasting, you feel really proud.”