To consider recommendations from Cabinet in respect of the HRA Business Plan 2020/21
Pursuant to Cabinet Minute No.91 (2020/21) consideration was given to a report in respect of the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan 2021-22.
The report stated that the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) recorded all expenditure and income relating to the provision of Council housing and related services, and as such the Council was required to produce an HRA Business Plan that was reviewed annually to set out its investment priorities over a 30 year period. The report provided a detailed technical overview of the current position of the HRA Business Plan and detailed the reasons for proposed changes. It was noted that the report was to be considered alongside the subsequent report that detailed the proposed levels for Housing Rents, Non-Dwelling Rents, District Heating and Service Charges as well as the draft Housing Revenue Account Budget for 2021/22.
The report stated that since the last update that there had been no significant Government policy changes that affected the business plan, however it was noted that there had been some significant downward changes to CPI (Consumer Prices Index). It was noted that the proposed HRA Business Plan recognised the importance of continuing investment in new affordable homes and would continue to be amended and reported annually.
In introducing the report, the Cabinet Member for Housing noted that despite the challenges that the continuation of Right to Buy sales presented for the HRA Business Plan, the Council continued to be committed to delivering new affordable housing across the Borough. The Cabinet Member also noted the Council’s continued commitment to, and continued success, in ensuring that all Council homes met or exceeded the national Decent Homes Standard. The Cabinet Member also noted the key themes and objectives of the plan that focussed on delivering housing growth across all tenure types, including shared ownership, and the replacement of homes lost to Right to Buy sales.
Councillor Turner asked how the size of the HRA budget compared to the size of the budget in previous years. The Cabinet Member advised that the budget would be slightly larger in 2021/22 due to the proposed increase in the rents. Councillor B. Cutts noted the amount of development of housing on what had previously been agricultural land over time.
Councillor Cusworth welcomed the proposals and the focus on house building and the provision of new Council properties for social rent and asked for further information on how this was being enabled. The Cabinet Member noted the various innovative schemes and tenure mix that the Council was using to deliver more homes across Rotherham, including the successful programme of strategic acquisitions where the Council had purchased new properties from developers.
Councillor Watson noted that the Council’s commitment to delivering new homes and building new Council rented properties was a political choice that had been taken in order to replace the homes lost to Right to Buy sales and to ensure that there were sufficient decent homes for Rotherham residents.
Councillor Carter noted his support for the delivery of new homes but stated that he would not be able to support the proposals due to the proposals for rents contained in the subsequent report on Housing Rents and Service Charges. The Cabinet Member noted that by voting against the HRA Business Plan that Councillor Carter would be voting against the delivery of new homes in Rotherham.
1) That the 2021-22 Base Case Option 1 for the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan, as detailed in the report of the Strategic Director of Adult Care, Housing and Public Health, be approved.
2) That the housing growth budgets, as detailed at paragraph 1.6 of the report be reprofiled, to ensure that resources be available at the right time to deliver on the commitments as detailed in the Annual Housing Development Programme.
3) That the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan be reviewed annually in order to provide an updated financial position.
Mover: - Councillor Beck Seconder:- Councillor Alam