Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
This report covers the 2019/20 budget for the Council’s homes (also known as the annual Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget).
Reasons for urgency:
This report needs to be approved by Cabine in February to approve the Housing Revenue Account 2019/20 budget for Council homes.
1. To approve the Housing Revenue Account 2019/20 budget for Council homes as set out in Table 1.
2. To approve a rent reduction of 1% from April 1st 2019 which equates to an average weekly decrease of £1.16 in 2018/19 (as required under the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016).
3. To approve 2018/19 capital programme slippage of £1.4m
4. To recommend that Full Council approves the HRA capital programme for 2018/19 to 2022/23 for a total of £255m including additions of £41.9m in 2022/23 which are presented in Table 4 (with individual schemes subject to Cabinet approval where appropriate).
5. To note the 5-year revenue budgets for 2019/20 to 2023/24 (Table 1).
6. To note the 40 Year Financial Plan for Council Homes for 2019/20 to 2058/59 as set out in section 5 of this report.
7. To note the HRA Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) which includes revenue growth relating to the restructure of the Growth & Place department of £1.94m (see Appendix 2) and also plans to deliver on-going annual revenue savings of £0.1million per annum from 2019/20 rising to £0.8million per annum from 2020/21 and £0.9million per annum from 2021/22 onwards with savings coming principally from better stock condition and housing management (see Appendix 1).
8. To approve a change in rent policy to CPI + 1% from 2020/21 plus use of the rent flexibility level (where rents for new lets are set at 5% above the formula rent subject to the rent cap).
9. To approve an increase to equity share rents, which fall outside the Government’s requirement to reduce social housing rents by 1% each year, of CPI (2.4% as at September 2018).
10. To approve an increase in tenant service charges of CPI (2.4% as at September 2018).
11. To note that Thames Water Authority is not due to confirm the increase in tenants’ water charges until the end of January 2019, and therefore to delegate authority to the Strategic Director Growth and Place in conjunction with the Cabinet Member for Housing to agree the average increase in water charges.
12. To approve a freeze in the communal heating charges.
13. To increase parking and garage charges by CPI (2.7% as at August 2018).
14. To note the risks outlined in Appendix 3: Key Risks, of this report.
 The Council uses CPI as at August for all non-housing rent-related annual charge increases. However, the Council’s rent increases are based on the September CPI as this is consistent with other local housing authorities.
Report author: Danny Rochford
Publication date: 06/02/2019
Date of decision: 04/02/2019
Decided at meeting: 04/02/2019 - Cabinet
Effective from: 11/02/2019