Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet Member for Housing
Thursday, 28th January, 2016 5.30 pm

Venue: Executive Meeting Room - The Guildhall

Contact: Vicki Plytas, Democratic Services, Tel: 9283 4058  Email: vicki.plytas@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Council Housing Budget 2016/17 (including rents and service charges) pdf icon PDF 216 KB

The law requires that all income and expenditure relating to Council Housing is accounted for separately in the Housing Revenue Account (HRA).  All other Council income and expenditure is accounted for together in a separate account called the General Fund.  This report deals solely with the HRA.

 

The City Council has delegated the function of setting rents, charges and budgets for Council Housing to the Cabinet Member for Housing.  Following extensive consultation with residents and leaseholders this report seeks to deal with all HRA budget issues. 

 

The purpose of the report by the Director of Property & Housing is to seek the Cabinet Member’s decisions on Council Housing budgets, rents and other charges and to give authority for managers to incur expenditure in 2016/17.

 

The report also seeks to:

 

·                                   Approve the Revised Revenue budgets for 2015/16 and 2016/17 and give authority to the Director of Property and Housing Services & the Director of Finance and Information Services, to amend the budgets to reflect the latest available information prior to finalising budgets for 2016/17.

 

·                                   Note the forecast Revenue Budgets for 2017/18 to 2019/20 arising from the proposals set out in this report 

 

·                                   Set rents in accordance with Central Government's amended social rent setting policy from 2016/17 until 2019/20.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS submitted for the approval of the Cabinet Member for Housing:

 

(i)         All rents and charges to be effective from 1st April 2016 or such other date as determined by the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services.

 

(ii)        Dwelling rents for 2016/17 to be set as in accordance with Central Government's Social Rent Policy.

 

(iii)       General Service charges for 2016/17 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, with a view to be set to achieve full cost recovery, as summarised in Appendix 5.

 

(iv)      Sheltered Housing Service charges for 2016/17 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, and in accordance with Appendix 6.

 

(v)       Laundry charges for 2016/17 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, and in accordance with Appendix 7.

 

(vi)      Heating charges to be set in accordance with Appendix 8.

 

(vii)     Garages and parking site rents as shown on Appendix 9 be approved and authority to let garages at reduced rents where demand is low be delegated to the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services.

 

(viii)    Revenue budgets for 2015/16 and 2016/17 as set out in Appendix 3 be approved and authority given to the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services to amend the budgets to reflect the latest available information prior to finalising budgets for 2016/17.

 

(ix)      The relevant Managers be authorised to incur expenditure in 2016/17.

 

(x)       The forecast Revenue Budgets for 2017/18 to 2019/20 as set out in Appendix 3 arising from the proposals contained in this report, be noted.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing approved:

 

(i)         All rents and charges to be effective from 1st April 2016 or such other date as determined by the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services.

 

(ii)        Dwelling rents for 2016/17 to be set as in accordance with Central Government's Social Rent Policy.

 

(iii)       General Service charges for 2016/17 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, with a view to be set to achieve full cost recovery, as summarised in Appendix 5.

 

(iv)       Sheltered Housing Service charges for 2016/17 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, and in accordance with Appendix 6.

 

(v)        Laundry charges for 2016/17 to be set at this meeting as set out in this report, and in accordance with Appendix 7.

 

(vi)       Heating charges to be set in accordance with Appendix 8.

 

(vii)      Garages and parking site rents as shown on Appendix 9 be approved and authority to let garages at reduced rents where demand is low be delegated to the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services.

 

(viii)     Revenue budgets for 2015/16 and 2016/17 as set out in Appendix 3 be approved and authority given to the Director of Property and Housing Services in consultation with the Director of Finance and Information Services to amend the budgets to reflect the latest available information prior to finalising budgets for 2016/17.

 

(ix)       The relevant Managers be authorised to incur expenditure in 2016/17.

 

(x)        The forecast Revenue Budgets for 2017/18 to 2019/20 as set out in Appendix 3 arising from the proposals contained in this report, be noted

 

N.B.  Appendices 3 and 6 of the original report were changed and revised versions have been uploaded on to the website and can be found at the following link http://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=152&MId=3355&Ver=4 .  The effect of the changes was to reduce the charges for Sheltered Housing.  Please contact Nick Haverly for further information and if you have any queries

Minutes:

(TAKE IN REPORT AND APPENDICES)

Nick Haverly, Finance Manager, presented the report.  He explained that in his 2015 budget speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a further change to the social rent policy which stated that all social rents would reduce by 1% each year for a period of four years.  As a result, for 2016/17 it is proposed to reduce rents from an average of £87.38 per week to £86.51 per week as summarised in Appendix 4.  Mr Haverly explained that the reduction in rent means that there is a need to maximise recovery of costs and as a result it is now proposed to meet full cost recovery in 2016/17, a year earlier than previously anticipated.  The proposed charges for 2016/17 are shown in Appendix 5.  Mr Haverly explained the charges for sheltered housing, laundry, heating and for garages and parking sites.

 

Mr Haverly drew members' attention to 4.2 of the report which explained that there are a number of years that show in-year deficits where expenditure exceeds anticipated income and the resulting shortfalls are being funded by drawing on HRA balances.  These deficits are mainly due to changes to government policies, for example the social rent reduction policy, as well as revenue contributions to fund major capital schemes that have been incorporated into the 30 year plan.  It is anticipated that these areas will be reviewed over the forthcoming year and a number of other service reviews investigated with the aim of identifying ways that the deficit budgets can be brought back to break even and to ensure that the HRA balances as a whole do not fall into deficit over the whole 30 year period.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing thanked officers for all their hard work on the report and the valued contributions of the tenants and leaseholders.  He said that he had received many representations on the sheltered housing charges which proposed a large increase compared with last year.  For that reason he proposed an amendment for this year and said he would be aiming to reduce the levels in future.  Consequently the increases will not be as large as originally proposed. 

Mr Haverly circulated at the meeting the amendment to Appendix 6 and a consequential amendment to Appendix 3.  The Cabinet Member for Housing placed on record his particular thanks to Nick Haverly for all his work.  He went on to say that legislation around housing was very complicated and there were challenges concerning the enforced 1% rent reduction as this would have a long term impact on the housing revenue account.  He said that there were also challenges around the right to buy with regard to housing associations which would have the effect of reducing property available for council house rental income.

 

The cabinet member invited comments from the opposition spokespersons.

 

Councillor Winnington placed on record his thanks to officers, residents and tenants and agreed that government policies would be challenging.  He was pleased that the sheltered housing service charges had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.