Issue - meetings

HRA Budget 2023/24

Meeting: 09/02/2023 - Council (Item 6)

6 HRA Budget 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Additional documents:


It was noted that in accordance with council procedure rule 17.6, a recorded vote would be taken on the motion or any amendments and substantive motions.


It was proposed by Cllr Saunders and seconded by the Leader that: 


1. That the HRA budget for 2023/24 is approved;

2. That the revised Housing Revenue Account capital programme (Annex 1) for 2023-27 is approved; and

3. That the HRA business plan is noted.


 The Legal and Monitoring Officer conducted a recorded vote on the motion as follows: 


49 Councillors voted in favour of the Motion


Councillors Albon, Ashbee, Austin, Bailey, Bambridge, J Bayford,  R Bayford, Boyd, Braidwood, Coleman-Cooke, Crittenden, Currie, Dexter, Duckworth, Everitt, Fellows, Garner, Hart, Hopkinson, Huxley, Keen, Kup, Leys, Pat Moore, Paul Moore, Anne-Marie Nixey,  Ovenden, Parsons, L Piper, Rev. S Piper, Pugh, Rattigan, Rawf, Rogers, Rusiecki, D Saunders, M Saunders, Savage, Scobie, Scott, Shrubb, Smith, Tomlinson, Towning, Wallin, Whitehead, Wing, Wright and Yates.


No Councillors voted against the Motion.


No Councillors Abstained.


Councillor Shonk joined the meeting at this point.

Meeting: 17/01/2023 - Overview & Scrutiny Panel (Item 428)

428 HRA Budget 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:


Chris Blundell introduced the report and made the following comments:


·  There were lots of pressure on the budget with nearly 50% increase in energy costs;

·  Inflation was at high historic levels;

·  Government had consulted on the rent increases including an option to increase the rents by 7%;

·  The Council was proposing a 7% increase because the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) was in still deficit and if approved would bring the HRA out of deficit into surplus;

·  There was an ambitious programme to bring more housing development to the district;

·  Most Council tenants were on housing benefits and or universal credit. The impact of these increases would not be that significant on these residents;

·  The HRA had gone into deficit mainly due to the mandatory rent reductions between 2016 and 2020. This had put a strain on the account.


Bob Porter, Acting Corporate Director of Place made the following comments:


·  The rent increases were largely inflation linked;

·  There were also high fuel costs to consider;

·  There were 24 hour waking watch provisions for the five tower blocks which had been factored into the budget proposals;

·  This provision was pout in in place after a fire risk assessment had made that recommendation;

·  Officers were working towards a situation where the 24 hour waking watch provision would not be required;

·  The Council had also been working on improving energy efficiency that included insulation of the internal walls of the tower blocks;

·  Since 2015, the Council had delivered over 200 homes in the district.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


·  One Member asked why wooden windows were being installed on some of the Council properties:

·  Another Member thanked staff in the Housing team for the work done since the service moved in house from East Kent housing;

·  They further said that a significant number of residents in the Tower Blocks were happy with the presence of the waking watch officers on their block premises.


Bob Porter advised the Panel that the wooden windows would be fitted on listed properties in the conservation areas.


Members noted the report.

Meeting: 12/01/2023 - Cabinet (Item 885)

885 HRA Budget 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 410 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered the proposals for next year’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget which was underpinned by a 7% increase in rents, which was in line with the maximum cap set nationally by government. This equated to an average rental increase of £6.20 per week for Council tenants. The majority of which would be covered by increased Housing Benefit or Universal Credit payments to the tenants. The HRA had been running at a deficit for a number of years, partly due to the imposition of statutory rental reductions and then caps being placed on rent increases in recent years. 


The deficit had been put under further strain this year, due to the high inflation environment and the consequent increase in the Council’s costs. As such, this level of proposed rent increase was needed to continue to drive the HRA to a balanced and sustainable financial position and also to finance Cabinet’s ambitious affordable house building programme and housing investment plan.


Councillor Whitehead spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1.


Councillor David Saunders proposed, Councillor Pugh seconded and Cabinet agreed to:


1.  Recommend to Council that the HRA budget for 2023/24 be approved;


2.  Recommend to Council that the Housing Revenue Account capital programmes (Annex 1) for 2023-27 bee approved; and


3.  Note the HRA business plan.