Agenda item

Draft Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget 2018/19 & 30 Year Business Plan


As detailed in the recommendations.


Councillor Attridge introduced the Draft Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget 2018/19 and 30 Year Business Plan Report.


            The strategic priorities for the year, and the business plan, included:

·         Achieving Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by 2020 and providing adequate ongoing investment to maintain WHQS levels;

·         Following de-pooling of rents a continued move towards efficient service charges and full cost recovery;

·         Ongoing transition of rents to Welsh Government (WG) targets;

·         Setting a balanced budget with a minimum of 3% surplus revenue over expenditure;

·         Maximisation of revenue efficiencies to minimise the borrowing required to meet WHQS by 2020; and

·         Delivery of new build Council housing.


WG policy allowed flexibility for each landlord to set the rent band at either target rent, 5% below or 5% above.  The Council had agreed to set Flintshire rents for existing stock at target to support tenant affordability.  Rents for new builds had been set at 5% above target.  The inflation indices used for uplifting rents each year were based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) at the previous September and a real increase of 1.5%.   CPI for September 2017 was 3% plus 1.5% giving rent inflation for 2018/19 of 4.5%.  There was concern about the affordability of a significant increase and following consideration of alternative options and listening to the views of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Tenants Federation, Councillor Attridge recommended that the rent increase be at 3% plus up to £2 for 2018/19.


The Chief Officer (Community and Enterprise) explained that by setting the recommended lower income, the reduced income for the Council would be £300,000 in 2018/19.  This did not have a negative impact on the Council’s ability to meet the WHQS standard by 2020, or its new build programme commitments.  She added that discussions were ongoing with WG on whether the borrowing cap could be increased.


Councillor Thomas welcomed the report and commended the investment in Council housing stock.


Councillor Shotton commented on the increase in rent arrears for those tenants who were in receipt of Universal Credit and asked how that would be managed.  He said the number of discretionary housing payments had doubled in the last three months which was indicative of the issues in the private sector and reinforced the importance of the Council’s new building programme which would see the lowest rents in the County for tenants.  The Chief Officer (Community and Enterprise) explained that the rent arrears were £200k more than the previous year and before Universal Credit had been introduced.  Officers were working with customers to set up repayment programmes to address any arrears.  




            (a)       That the Housing Revenue Account budget for 2018/19 and Business

Plan be approved and recommended to Council;


(b)       That the option of setting a rent increase for 2018/19 be approved, and recommended to Council, at 3% (plus or minus £2), with target rents applied for new tenancies, as a more affordable increase that the Welsh Government rent Policy formula which would set an increase of 4.5% (plus or minus £2);


(c)        That a garage rent increase of £1 per week and a garage plot rent increase of £0.20p per week be approved and recommended to Council; and


(d)       That the proposed Housing Revenue Account Capital Programme for 2018/19 be approved and recommended to Council.

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