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Housing Revenue Account budget for 2018/19

Published: 10/01/2018

Flintshire County Council’s Community and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be asked to consider the draft Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget for 2018/19 when it meets on Monday, 15 January. The HRA funds the landlord function of the council for over 7,000 homes. This covers the council house building programme, repair and maintenance of homes, stock improvement and environmental improvements, neighbourhood management including resolving anti-social behaviour and estate caretaking, income collection and customer involvement. The council is required to meet the Welsh Government target for rent levels for council homes over time, and the formula for setting rents each year is also set by Welsh Government. Rents are calculated each year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) at the previous September (3%) and a real increase percentage of 1.5%, plus up to an additional £2. If implemented in full this would mean rent increases of 4.5% in April 2018 plus up to £2. Rent increases and service charges are covered by Universal Credit and Housing Benefit for social tenants. However, a proportion of tenants will only qualify for partial benefit and so may find it more difficult to make payments. Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Bernie Attridge, said: “The council is concerned about affordability for tenants and therefore myself and the Leader of the Council are proposing an option to increase rents by 3% only plus up to £2. The council’s cabinet will consider this on 20 February and will then make a recommendation to full Council later that day. The Scrutiny Committee will be asked to consider the implications of both options and then to provide feedback to the cabinet ahead of its meeting. The Tenants Federation will also be considering both options at their meeting at the end of January.” Garage rents are set to increase by £1 per week and a garage plot rent increase of £0.20 per week is proposed. The HRA is required to produce a 30 year business plan. This focuses on the achievement of the Welsh Housing Quality Standards (WHQS), Choices document promises being kept, ongoing efficiencies made and 200 new council homes built. Flintshire County Council’s Leader, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said: “£21m has been built into the WHQS programme for 2018/19. This includes provision for internal work (kitchens and bathrooms), external work (windows, doors, roofing, guttering, etc), environmental programmes, adaptations for those with disabilities, and energy efficiency works. “In addition, there is a further £14.2m available for the Council’s Strategic Housing and Regeneration Programme (SHARP) to ensure that more council houses and more affordable homes are built during 2018/19.”