A report from the Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Growth is attached.
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Growth, presented the report which formed part of a suite of documents relating to the Council’s budget setting process for 2022/23 and set out the proposed Housing Revenue Account for 2022/23 and proposals for Dwelling and Garage rents, Sheltered Support, Management, Amenities and Heating charges, Furnished Tenancy charges and Fernhill Caravan site tenancy charges. The report also established the Management Fee paid to Six Town Housing for 2022/23. It was noted that this increase would be challenging for some families and plans were in place to support those most affected.
1. Approved the forecast outturn for the Housing revenue Account budget;
2. Approved an increase in rents for all HRA social rent formula and affordable rent dwellings by 4.1% as set out in paragraph 2.8 of the report;
3. Approved an increase Garage rents by 4.1% as set out in paragraph 2.13 of the report;
4. Approved an increase Sheltered Management and Amenity Charges by 4.1% as set out in paragraph 3.5 of the report;
5. Noted that sheltered support and heating charges remain unchanged;
6. Noted that Furnished Tenancy charges will remain unchanged; and
7. Approved the Management Fee to o Six Town Housing for 2022/23 as set out in paragraph 1.5 of the report.
Reasons for the decision:
To progress the Council’s 2019/20 budget setting process to achieve an approved and balanced budget.
Other options considered and rejected:
None, setting the budget is a statutory responsibility.
A report from the Leader of the Council, Councillor E O’Brien is attached.
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Growth, presented the report which set out the proposed Housing Revenue Account for 2022/23 and proposals for Dwelling and Garage rents, Sheltered Support, Management, Amenities and Heating charges, Furnished Tenancy charges and Fernhill Caravan site tenancy charges. The report also establishes the Management Fee paid to Six Town Housing for 2022/23.
The following questions and comments were raised:
· Questions on external funding and schemes available to help with the need for new Council and Social Housing were asked. The Leader responded by acknowledging that a HRA does not exist in every Council. The Leader advised that there is external funding available from the Government and following COP26.
· Discussions took place on housing and the Level-up fund and how everyone deserves the opportunity to live in an affordable home that meets the needs of the individual. It was acknowledged that there is a huge need for social housing.
· A request was made for context on how we are with rent arrears in comparison to other organisations. In response the Leader confirmed he has a table that demonstrates how we compare to some comparable organisations and will share this to the Committee following the meeting. An additional question on the allowance of HRA balances being allowed to fall no further than £100 below was asked. In response the Leader stated he will get some further comparative data on this matter and circulate to Committee following the meeting.
· The Performance and Finance Sub-Group requested a piece of work to be done on identifying bad debt to track debt to the person; when this work is done will it include rechargeable arrears, rent arrears and other debts from the HRA to be included. Sam Evans Executive Director of Finance confirmed the work will be done with Six Town Housing to pull all this information together.
· We pay Six Town Housing £13m per year in management fees; this works out at approximately £1600 per house. It was questioned if it was felt this fee is too high of a management fee. Work is currently happening to review the management fee as this fee has been frozen for a number of years, however as more properties are sold off through RTB the fee needs to change. The Committee were assured that the quality of services received from Six Town Housing add great social value and whilst it is a higher than typical fee there is a quality difference.
It was agreed:
2. Comparative data on the £100 threshold for HRA Balances to be done and circulated to the Committee following the meeting.
3. To note the contents of the report