Agenda item



(NOTE: Councillors T. Devichand and J. Edmunds had earlier declared an interest in this item and remained in the meeting during its consideration)


The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 1st February, 2016, (Minute 16 refers) had considered the Housing Revenue Account Budget and Housing Rent setting for 2016/17 and had made a number of recommendations with regard thereto, as detailed within the Report of the Director of Corporate Services, for consideration by the Council.


The Council received a presentation from the Executive Board Member for Resources, on behalf of the Executive Board, on the Revenue and Capital Budget proposals for the Housing Revenue Account for 2016/19 reflecting the aims of the 30 year Business Plan, which was the primary financial planning tool for delivering the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard Plus (CHS+) together with the Affordable Housing Strategy, due to be presented to the Council in March 2016.


The Executive Board Member advised that the proposed investment within the current business plan had delivered the Carmarthenshire Home Standard by 2015 and had provided investment to maintain both the CHS+ and to commence investment in the Affordable Housing Strategy, in the sums of £45m and £31m respectively.


He reminded the Council that there had been significant reform of the Housing Revenue Account in 2015/16 when the 11 housing stock authorities in Wales, including Carmarthenshire, had exited the outdated Housing Subsidy System, providing them with more control over their housing stock. For Carmarthenshire, whilst that required the Authority to borrow £79m to fund the exit, it had also resulted in the termination of the annual £6.2m payment to the Treasury.


The Executive Board Member advised that the Executive Board was proposing the average housing rent increase be set at 2.97% in line with the Welsh Government Social Housing Rent Harmonisation Policy, adopted by the Council the previous year, requiring it to work towards meeting the target rent within a five year period.  Carmarthenshire’s average low rent target was £78.08 and should the report recommendations be approved, its average rent would be set at £78.73 slightly above the low end target.


The Executive Board Member stated that as always, in determining the rent levels, it had been difficult to balance the impact of the rent increase on the Council’s tenants against the need to set rents in line with welsh government policy whilst ensuring it could continue to produce a sustainable business plan to progress the CHS+ and the Affordable Housing Strategy.


In moving the recommendations for Council’s consideration, he advised that the proposals had been unanimously supported by the Community Scrutiny Committee at its meeting held on the 15th January, 2016.


RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be adopted:-



To increase the average housing rent by 2.97% (£2.27) per dwelling per week as per the Welsh Government’s Social Housing Rents Policy (inclusive of progression for tenants below target rents) as that would produce a sustainable Business Plan and continue to achieve and maintain the CHS+



To continue with maximum progression permissible for rents below target, until target rents were achieved.



To increase garage rents to £8.75 per week (from £8.50 in 2015/16) and garage bases to £2.20 per week (from £2.15 in 2015/16),



Apply the service charge policy to ensure tenants who received the benefit from specific services paid for those services,



To increase charges for using the council’s sewerage treatment works by 2.97%,


To approve the proposed capital programme and applicable funding for 2016/17 and the indicative spends for 2017/18 and 2018/19 as set out in Appendix C to the report,



To approve the Housing Revenue Account Budget for 2016/19 (2017/18 & 2018/19 being soft budgets) as set out in Appendix B to the report.


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