Report from the Strategic Director for Adult Care, Housing and Public Health.
That Cabinet recommends to Council to:
1. Approve the proposed 2023-24 Base Case Option 1 for the HRA Business Plan.
2. Review the Plan annually to provide an updated financial position.
Consideration was given to the report which explained that the Council was required to produce an Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan setting out its investment priorities over a 30 year period. The report also provided a detailed technical overview of the current position and the reason for changes to the Business Plan.
The report was also considered alongside the Housing Revenue Account Rents and Service Charges 2023/24.
The plan was refreshed annually so that it remained responsive to changes in the economic climate, policies, or national Government changes. The key priorities that influenced the plan remained largely as they were previously. These were:
· Investing in future housing growth.
· Replacing homes lost through Right to Buy.
· Maintaining Decent Home standards and service standards.
· Ensuring compliance to statutory functions, part of which was achieving energy performance C across the housing stock.
· Sustaining the current levels of investment in front line services.
· Safeguarding and supporting the most vulnerable tenants.
A critical consideration of the plan was to set the rents at a level to enable the Council to meet those priorities.
The introduction of the social rent cap had set rents at a maximum of 7%.
The proposal within the report was that dwelling rents were increased by 7% which included shared ownership. A 6% increase to service charges, which included garages and parking.
For district heating there was a £1.65m cushioning on the proposed increase which was proposed to increase in line with national Government’s proposed dual fuel cap.
The Leader reflected on the pressures within the housing budget. There was a reluctance to increase rents by 7%, however, the same pressures, such as fuel increases, applied. The Council had an ambitious housing programme. It was highlighted that most tenants would be protected from the increases due to other measures already in place.
This report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board as part of the pre-decision scrutiny process. The Board fully supported the recommendations.
Resolved: That Cabinet recommended to Council to: