Agenda item

Housing Revenue Account Estimates and Housing Capital Programme 2020/21

To present the Cabinet with the draft revenue and capital estimates for Housing Revenue Account Services in 2020/21. To inform Cabinet of the determination of the level of rents and service charges for 2020/21.

Minutes:

The Cabinet was presented withthe draft revenue and capital estimates for Housing Revenue Account Services in 2020-21 together with the determination of the level of rents and service charges for 2020-21.

 

The report was presented in four sections and the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) provided Members with a detailed summary of each section:-

 

·         Section One – HRA Revenue Account Budget;

·         Section Two – Housing Capital Programme;

·         Section Three – Robustness of Estimates and Adequacy of Reserves; and

·         Section Four – HRA Business Planning.

 

In February 2019, the Government confirmed its intention to set a long term rent deal for social housing landlords in England. The new policy will permit annual rent increases on both social rent and affordable rent properties of up to consumer price index (CPI) plus one percentage point from 2020, for a period of at least five years. The subsequent Rent Standard issued by the Regulator of Social Housing in respect of 2020-21 confirmed that rents could increase by CPI+1% from 1 April 2020 (where CPI is measured at September 2019).  Dwelling Rents for 2020-21 will therefore increase by 2.7%. The authority’s average social rent will increase to £89.96 per week in 2020-21 compared to £87.17 per week in 2019-20. The average affordable rent will increase to £159.41 per week (the average social rent increase will not be exactly equal to 2.7% due to re-letting of void properties and additions of properties during the year).

 

The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised that service charges were also levied on Council dwellings to cover a range of services including caretaking services and maintenance of communal areas and communal assets, such as lifts and gardens. Service charges were generally eligible to be met by Housing Benefit, with the exception of charges to individual homes such as heating or lighting within a dwelling. The Council’s average capped service charge will be £3.63 per week for 2020-21. The capped service charge had been increased by 2.7% (based on CPI at September 2019 +1).

 

Rent levels and service charges for 2020-21 had been determined by the Assistant Director (Housing) and the Director (Corporate Services), in accordance with the Housing Act 1985 and under delegated authority as set out at Annex 1.13B.83 of the Constitution.

 

The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised that this will be the first time in four years since social rent had increased.

 

The Cabinet requested that the Communications Team promote the reasons for an increase in rent and that it will be the first time in four years.

 

Resolved that the Cabinet recommends to Council that:-

 

1.    the draft Revenue estimates for 2020-21 together with the revised estimates for 2019-20 to be approved;

2.    the draft capital estimates, together with the revised estimates for 2019-20 be approved, subject to detailed reports coming forward for new schemes, where applicable;

3.    the increase in average rents of 2.7% for 2020-21 be noted; and

4.    due consideration is given to the view of the Director (Corporate Services) (as S151 Officer) on the robustness of estimates for the coming year, the medium term financial strategy and the adequacy of proposed reserves and balances, as required under Section 25 of the Local Government Finance Act 2003.

 

 

Supporting documents: