COMMUNITIES across Glasgow have been transformed in recent years thanks to unprecedented levels of investment in housing.

Labour in Glasgow was elected on the ambitious pledge to deliver 3500 new homes in the city before 2017. My administration is well on the way to meeting that target.

Last year alone saw the construction of 600 new homes by community-based housing associations with a further 2600 planned over the next four years. At the same time Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) will build 1400 affordable homes. Since the Labour Government wrote off the city's housing debt in 2003 GHA has invested around £1.3billion modernising and building new homes for rent in the city.

That investment has helped create thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, and generated millions of pounds for the local economy. Figures show that for every new home that's built, four full-time jobs are supported.

It is vital that we continue to invest in housing and that is why I was delighted to be in Sighthill earlier this month to launch the first phase of a major regeneration project in the area.

Multi-storey flats are making way for high quality family homes as new life is being breathed into Sighthill.

As well as the 141 new GHA homes for rent, the council-led regeneration initiative will also see private homes built as part of a mixed tenure development, the construction of a new school campus, the creation of a new park and the improvement of transport links.

And it is not just GHA who are investing in city communities. Since development funding was transferred to the council in 2003, more than 10,000 affordable homes have been built in Glasgow, the majority by the community-based housing association sector.

I know many smaller housing associations are feeling financial pressure from the impact of the Government's welfare reforms, a point I made directly to the Deputy Prime Minister when he visited Glasgow last year. Investment in housing is transforming lives and I look forward to seeing that continue in the coming years. Everyone should have the right to a decent home.

SINCE it was established, City Building's Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi) factory in north Glasgow has been providing much-needed employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

RSBi is owned by Glasgow City Council and, unlike in other parts of the country where similar facilities have closed or faced financial difficulty, RSBi is thriving.

The skilled workforce at RSBi has a strong track record of manufacturing kitchens, office and educational furniture, and furniture for student accommodation.

As a result, RSBi recently secured a £400,000 contract to furnish student accommodation at Aberdeen University.

This is the latest example of RSBi's continued success in a highly competitive marketplace and demonstrates its growing reputation for combining commercial success with socially responsible practices.

My council is proud of our ongoing support to RSBi.