To receive a report from the Deputy Chief Executive (S151) and the Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing presenting proposals for the second draft of the Housing Revenue Account budget for 2022/23.
The Group had before it, a report * from the Deputy Chief Executive (S151) and Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing presenting proposals for the second draft of the Housing Revenue Account budget for 2022/23.
The Cabinet Member for Housing introduced the item highlighting the fact that the HRA currently showed a balanced position and the garage and units rents were proposed to remain at the current levels. Budgets to support the building and maintenance teams needed to remain at realistic levels in order to support the maintenance of the HRA housing stock. He highlighted the fact that there were additional responsibilities in terms of the decarbonisation programme which had a significant financial impact on the HRA. He thanked the staff involved for the detailed and complex work entailed in formulating a draft HRA budget that was both realistic whilst maintaining the interests of the tenants at the core.
Consideration was given to:
· The suggested level of the proposed rent increase. It was explained that this was proposed at an under inflation level despite the fact that inflation had continued to increase. Other local authorities had also proposed a 4.1% rise.
· The situation regarding rent arears was dealt with very sensitively and proactively by Housing Department officers and significant liaison and support was offered.
· An error was highlighted at section 2.9 in the report, the figure should have been cited as £570k rather than £750k, this had been a transposition error.
· Fuel and energy costs were on an increasing trajectory.
· A new regime as part of the Social Housing white paper would require tenant satisfaction to be measured to a greater extent in future.
· Utilising redundant garage sites for possible module housing schemes.
· The cost of maintaining and repairing garages that were under used.
· It was confirmed that the management team within the Housing Department were always looking for efficiencies, this was part of their standard ongoing every day procedure.
· Borrowing was always a balancing act. The Council had a policy of seeking what other funds were available first such as internal borrowing.
· Debt levels were better than the sector average.
· Regarding decarbonisation and funding schemes available centrally to help – the team were always alive to these and entered into the very competitive process to apply for these everywhere they could.
· The need for more detail in relation to the programme for council house building over the next 5 years. It was confirmed this would be coming to the Cabinet meeting on 1st February 2022. A feasibility programme had been submitted to Homes England before Christmas and their response was awaited.
RECOMMENDED to the Cabinet that the rent increase proposed and other budget proposals for 2022/23 be approved.
(Proposed by Cllr D R Coren and seconded by Cllr C J Eginton )
Reason for the decision:
A balanced and realistic budget must be set for 2022/23 in order to maintain a sustainable Housing Revenue Account with adequate investment for necessary maintenance.
Notes: (i) * Report previously circulated; copy attached to the signed minutes.
(ii) Cllr S J Clist voted against the recommendation and requested that this be recorded.
(iii) Cllr J Cairney abstained from voting and requested that this be recorded.