Writing the annual report is always a time of reflection, where we can consider the achievements of the year ending and anticipate the challenges and opportunities that face us over the horizon. In many ways this year is no different, which is perhaps somewhat of an understatement!
I’d like to start by thanking John Craggs who stepped down as Chair this year. John took up the Chair as I joined the NHC and throughout the past six years John has been a huge support to me personally and a champion of the NHC and I enjoyed working with him enormously. Following John, I am delighted that Tom Miskell is our new Chair. Tom brings a real passion for the Consortium and our members. He is, as am I, absolutely determined to ensure we continue to offer excellent value to our membership and do all we can to ensure our members feel connected to the NHC and are able to come together to share insight, innovation and opportunities to influence. I would also like to thank the NHC Board for their on-going support, commitment and expertise which they willingly share with me and my team.
Tom talks in his piece about the Commission for Housing in the North and I won’t repeat his words but will absolutely echo his sentiment. Working on the Commission for Housing in the North has been an inspiring experience. We have been lucky to hear evidence from a broad range of experts from UK Trade and Investment through to Sir Bob Kerslake via the Confederation of British Industry. What struck me in engaging with these experts was the shared and very real recognition of the need to tackle the economic and housing challenges facing the North not just in addition to the housing crisis in London and the South East but as part of a wider set of interventions to alleviate those pressures. The Commission affords us a unique opportunity to shape a strong future for housing in the North and I know from the strength of engagement with our members that they are committed to this agenda.