Agenda item

Housing Revenue Account Capital and Revenue Budgets 2022/23

This report presents the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) capital and revenue budgets for 2022/23 and provides details of proposed rent and service charge levels for 2022/23. The report also contains the latest revised forecasts of the HRA Business Plan.


The comments of this Committee will be collated for onward despatch to the Cabinet on 8 February 2022 and Council on 24 February 2022.




The Committee considered a report presenting the Housing Revenue Account capital and revenue budgets for 2022/23 which provided details of proposed rent and service charge levels. It also contained the latest revised forecasts of the HRA Business Plan.


Members raised a number of questions and comments which were responded to by the Head of Strategic Housing as follows:


  • Three-Year Capital Works Budget: The lost opportunities referred to in the report referred to the previous arrangement whereby the capital works budget was set on an annual basis. This had prevented rationalisation and cost savings which were now possible under the current three-year programme.


  • What was the progress of the Housing Building Development Programme?: The Council was aiming to increase its stock by 1% year on year and referred to the three sites in Twydall which were at the early stages of development.


  • What support was given to tenants in light of the reduction in Universal Credit and increase in energy prices?: This was acknowledged as a challenge in terms of rent arrears; the Housing and Finance teams worked closely to ensure eligible tenants received the housing support grant. Investment in housing stock improvements was reducing energy costs, for example the installation of energy efficient boilers.


  • How many properties were available through right to buy:  The HRA business plan models for 15 units a year to be lost through the right to buy, this was increased from 10 units for more recent iterations of the plan.


  • How was the 5 year rolling Mears contract monitored?: This had been 5 year contract with an option to extend for 5 years. There would be a retendering exercise next year and tenants’ views would be sought.


  • How were residents’ expectations managed when they were consulted?: Assisted by the Estate Champions, the Council always sought to explain the detail behind decisions to residents to ensure a greater understanding of what it was seeking to achieve.


  • Were smaller social landlords encouraged not to increase rents?: Members welcomed the decision of MHS not to increase rents and were advised that discussions had been held with smaller social landlords although the position on rent increases was mixed.


  • Greater mitigation measures were needed to address rent arrears: Benchmarking had showed that the Council was in a positive position in this regard; it was doing all it could to ameliorate the situation.


  • What was the rational for the Council’s 3.5% increase in rent?: The business plan modelled an increase of 2.5% each year; last year’s increase was 1.5% so this year’s increase brought it back in line with the planned increase.


  • What was the latest position on void properties?: Workforce self-isolating as a result of the pandemic had restricted the amount of work that could be done to bring void properties up to standard within acceptable timescales, there were also broader national issues with materials and labour. The Council would continue to work with Mears to improve the position.




The Committee recommended to the Cabinet:


a)    A proposed social rent increase of 3.5% (which is below the allowed CPI of 3.1 plus 1%) for the social rent housing stock as set out in Appendix A (based on 52 collection weeks) with effect from 04 April 2022.


b)    A proposed affordable rent increase of 3.5% (which is below the allowed CPI of 3.1 plus 1%) for the affordable rent properties as set out in Appendix B (based on 52 collection weeks) with effect from 04 April 2022.


c)    A proposed rent increase of 5% to be applied to all garage tenure types with effect from 04 April 2022 as stated in section 4.


d)    That the service charges increases/decreases as set out in Appendix C of the report for 2022/23 be approved.


e)    That to allow the service charges cap of 15%, or 10 pence, whichever is the greater. 


f)      That the revenue budget for the HRA service for 2022/23 as per Appendix D be approved.


g)    That the proposed new budget of £8.2m (as set out in section 8.5.3 & 8.5.4) and a virement of £1.3m from phase 4 budget be approved for Phase 5 new build programme.


h)    That the provision for the repayment of debt based on annuity-based payment of £0.427m, on the HRA’s outstanding debt for 2022/23 be approved.


i)      That Members approve the revised 30-year HRA Business Plan model as attached at Appendix E.

Supporting documents: