Agenda item


The Portfolio Holders for Council Homes and Landlord Services and Corporate Governance, Finance and Resources to submit a report updating Members on the financial position of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), setting the rents of Council dwellings, approving the HRA budget estimates for 2022-23 and setting the working balance for 2022-23.


The Director for Corporate Services introduced the report. Members were informed that there was a forecast underspend of £172k underspend in 2021/22 and the reason for this was primarily due to reduced costs of stock condition surveys and the reprofiling of costs to later years. It was noted that the capital budget was for one year only until business plan has been approved, at which point a five year capital programme would be produced.


In moving the recommendations, the Portfolio Holder for Council Homes and Landlord Services outlined the recommendations and the changes that have been made since the publication of the report. The Cabinet were made aware of the challenges facing the service including: inflationary pressures, the need for income in order to invest back into the stock and ensure that homes are safe and the decarbonisation agenda.


Members were also informed that the Council would offer tenants advice and assistance in order to help them cope in times of hardship.


The Leader stated that he welcomed how Officers will work with tenants particularly around the issue of hardship. In addition, the Leader commended the work done and stated that it would go some way to ensuring resilience and financial stability to the Housing Revenue Account.




1)    NOTED the financial position on the HRA, as at 30 November 2021, and the year end forecast for both revenue and capital;

2)    RECOMMENDED to Council that the budget estimates for 2022/23 be approved;

3)    RECOMMENDED to Council that the average rent increase of 4.1% for all Council dwellings for 2022/23 be approved, with effect from 1 April 2022;

4)    RECOMMENDED to Council that the working balance is maintained at the approved minimum balance of £750k and any residual amounts be transferred to the Regeneration and Development Reserve, as approved in February 2020 when the budget was set for 2021/22.

5)    RECOMMENDED to Council that, subject to an amendment to the estimates to allow for the freezing of IHMS charges, any resulting reduction of income be funded by the Regeneration & Development Reserve in order to maintain the £750k working balance be approved.

6)    RECOMMENDED to Council that the 2022/23 capital programme be approved.


Reasons for the recommendations

The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 requires the Council to produce and publish an annual budget, including the setting of rents, for the HRA which avoids a deficit. It is a requirement that this be scrutinised prior to its submission which falls within the Cabinet’s remit.


The rent increase of 4.1% is based on CPI of 3.1% plus a further 1.0%. This is based on Government policy and is the maximum increase allowed.


The increase will enable the Council to ensure resilience and financial stability of its housing revenue account and will enable the Council to respond to stock investment requirements as identified by a comprehensive stock condition survey, whilst also enabling the Council to remain resilient to increasing contractor cost pressures.


The proposed rental increase demonstrates the council meeting its fiduciary duty. However, the Council is mindful of the cost of living pressures for tenants and in response to this, will be providing additional advice and assistance to tenants.

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