Agenda item

Housing Revenue Account Estimates 2019-20 and Housing Capital Programme

Minutes:

The Director (Corporate Services) and Assistant Director (Corporate Services)presented the Committee with the draft revenue and capital estimates for Housing Revenue Account Services in 2019-20 together with the determination of the level of rents and service charges for 2019-20.

 

 

The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) highlighted the following:

 

·         The Council is budgeting for income of £27.2million, versus expenditure of £30.7million

with the need to draw £3.5million funds from the general HRA reserve, principally to fund works within the capital programme.

·         The budget reflects the second year of the pay offer.

·         The HRA will retain a vacancy allowance of £100,000

·         The Finance Team have worked with budget holders to challenge their budgets, as a consequence of this the Council is delivering £54,000 of ongoing budget reductions which builds on £241,000 that’s been realised by that process over the last 2 years.

·         Salary related savings total £466,000 due to reviewing the staffing establishment and removing long term vacant posts.

·         The budget also reflects the last year of the government’s rent reduction policy which requires rents to be reduced by 1% annually, which will see the average weekly rent for the authority falling from its current level of £87.77 per week to £87.71 per week in 2019/20.

·         Service Charges: September CPI gives a figure of 3.4%

·         The Capital programme for the year is estimated at £16.7million which reflects investment in the Council’s existing stock and also the continuation of the new build and acquisition programme.

 

 

The Director (Corporate Services) explained that the vacancy allowance is designed to reflect the natural turnover within the year. The Council tries to minimise the impact on service delivery wherever possible.

 

The Director (Corporate Services) advised that the Local Government Association is lobbying on behalf of Local Authorities regarding central government housing policies that many feel are unfair (e.g. Local Authorities Right to Buy receipts to fund no more than 30% of the cost of a replacement unit).

 

The Chair noted that this was a well-managed account and more social housing is to be welcomed but it doesn’t seem right that the people paying for it are the poorest. If the costs were to be shared it would be fairer.

 

 

Resolved that the Overview Scrutiny Committee noted the Cabinet recommendations that will be presented to Full Council.

 

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