Issue - meetings

Housing Revenue Account Budgets 2023-24

Meeting: 23/02/2023 - Council (Item 6)

6 Housing Revenue Account Budgets 2023-24 WBC23-003. pdf icon PDF 97 KB

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The Council noted that the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) was forecast to be significantly impacted by rising costs from energy and contractual inflation in the coming year.  The HRA was already facing considerable financial challenges as a result of losing homes and associated rental income to the Sheerwater regeneration project and the legacy impact of 4 years’ of rent cuts.

Following a consultation, the Government had taken the decision to adopt a 7% ceiling for increases in social rents   It was therefore proposed that the Council should increase its rents by 7% for 2023-24.  Even so, the HRA was forecast to make an estimated deficit of £1,365,498 in the coming year, requiring a contribution of £1,366,898 from reserves to maintain a working balance per property of £100.  Work was currently underway to secure the sum of £3.8m from ThamesWey, representing the compensation agreed for the costs incurred by the Council in underwriting the New Vision Homes’ costs of developing the first proposed regeneration scheme for Sheerwater.  The payment would be incorporated into the 2024 ThamesWey Business plans, considered later in the meeting, and would be critical for the HRA if it was to set a balanced budget in 2024-25 and beyond.

The proposals were debated in detail by the Members, with a number of concerns expressed over the impact of the proposed increase in social rents on tenants.  The Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Johnson, responded to the points raised and emphasised the necessity of ensuring that sufficient income was achieved to meet the costs of repairs.  It was further stated that those tenants on full benefits would not be affected by the increase in rent.

The Mayor referred the Members to the recommendations within the report and in accordance with Standing Order 10.8 the recommendations were put to a vote.

The names of Members voting for and against the recommendations were recorded as follows:

In favour:                           Councillors Dr H Akberali, A-M Barker, G Cosnahan, W Forster, P Graves, I Johnson, D Jordan, A Kirby, R Leach, L Lyons, L Morales, J Morley, E Nicholson, S Oades, D Roberts, J Sanderson and T Spencer.

Total in favour:                  17

Against:                             None.

Total against:                     0

Present not voting:            The Mayor, Councillor S Hussain, and Councillors A Azad, T Aziz, J Brown, K Davis, S Dorsett, G Elson, C Kemp, M I Raja and M Whitehand.

Total present not voting:   10

The recommendations were therefore carried by 17 votes in favour and no votes against.


That  (i)    the Final Housing Revenue Account budgets for 2023-24, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be agreed; and

          (ii)   with effect from 3 April 2023, rents be increased by 7%.