LGIM Real Assets has provided c.€83m (£75m) in long-term financing to Bernicia to support its ambitions to deliver 650 much-needed homes to the North East by 2023. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored some of the major social issues that need to be addressed – not least income inequality, standards of living and access to healthcare. In a recent poll of more than 2,000 people for the Affordable Housing Commission, 13% of adults said their mental health was affected by their housing situation, this rose to 25% for those living in unaffordable housing – where their rent or mortgage equalled more than a third of their total household income.
Steve Bolton, Head of Private Corporate Debt, Europe, said: “Whilst we have seen a lot of change over the past few months, the fundamental need for good quality, affordable homes has not changed. If Covid has shown us anything, it’s that we all need a safe place to call home. Covid, and the actions taken to mitigate its spread, highlight the central role of the home in people’s lives. Legal & General is uniquely placed to invest annuity money into the UK economy, supporting its long-term pension commitments and creating real assets which provide jobs, housing, productivity and wage growth. This €83m (£75m) investment in Bernicia marks another significant milestone for Legal & General’s investment in the North East, having recently committed €110.5m (£100m) and €387m (£350m) to landmark regeneration projects in Sunderland and Newcastle respectively.”
Janette Longstaff, Bernicia Executive Director of Finance, said: “This important investment from Legal & General Investment Management – as the sole investor in the deal - represents a huge vote of confidence in Bernicia’s financial strength as well as the wider North East economy. It allows us to secure long-term funding at very favourable rates thanks to our strong financial standing and excellent governance. The funds, which will be provided in three drawdowns over a two-year period, allow us to not only meet our corporate strategic objectives but to go much further enabling us to explore strategic opportunities with our local authority partners, support local supply chains and create more opportunities for the people of the North East.”