Agenda item



(NOTE: Councillors S. Curry, S.J.G. Gilasbey, H.A.L. Evans, P.M. Hughes, J. James, D. Thomas and D. Price having earlier declared an interest in this item, reiterated those declarations and left the meeting during its consideration)


Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 22nd  February, 2021 [minute 8 refers] had considered the Housing Revenue Account Budget 2021/22 to 2023/24 and Housing Rent Setting for 2021/22 and had made a number of recommendations, as detailed within the Director of Corporate Services’ report, for Council’s consideration. It was noted that the report had also been considered, and endorsed, by the Community Scrutiny Committee at its meeting held on the 2nd February 2021 as part of the budget consultation process.


The Executive Board Member for Resources advised that the report brought together the latest proposals for the Revenue and Capital Budgets for the Housing Revenue Account 2021/24 and reflected the latest proposals contained within the 30 year Business Plan, being the primary financial planning tool for delivering the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard Plus (CHS+) for the future.


The Executive Board Member for Resources advised that capital investment in the region of £231m had delivered the Carmarthenshire Home Standard for tenants and, more recently, up to the end of the current financial year, a further £64m would have been spent in maintaining the CHS+ home standard for properties and tenants.  Over the next 3 years it was expected that a further £56m would be spent on maintaining and upgrading the housing stock. The budget alsoprovided funding of some £49m over the next 3 years to support the Affordable Homes Programme, which was on top of the £45m expenditure already incurred to the end of this current financial year. The Strategy would also see the increase in the supply of affordable housing throughout the County through various solutions including our new build programme (such as Glanmor Terrace, Burry Port and Dylan, Bynea)  and the buyback scheme.


The Council was reminded that since 2015 the Authority had been required to adopt the Welsh Government Policy for Social Housing Rent Harmonisation, meaning that the proposed rent increase was prescribed by Welsh Government guidance and provided an equitable distribution of the rents for the social sector tenants.  While that policy ended in 2018/19, and an interim policy applied for 2019/20 the Welsh Government had subsequently developed a new policy for implementation in 2020/21 to apply for a period of 5 years from 2020/21 and contained some additional/amended requirements, as detailed within the report. The main elements of that policy allowed Local Authorities to uplift the total rent envelope by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) +1% for each of the five years to 2024/25. It also allowed for the level of rent for individual tenants to rise by up to an additional £2 over and above CPI +1% for rent harmonisation, on condition that total rental income collected by the social landlord increased by no more than CPI +1%.


The Executive Board Member advised that in order for the Authority to meet its previous commitment to tenants by implementing the harmonisation policy and establishing a fairer rent level for all tenants the Executive Board had made a number of recommendations as detailed within the report for Council’s consideration.


Reference was made to the current economic climate resulting from Covid 19 and the  following amendment was proposed and seconded


“that the Council freeze the proposed rent increases for 2021/22”


The proposer explained the rational for the amendment


Following consideration, it was


RESOLVED that the Amendment to the Motion be not supported


Council thereupon proceeded to vote on the substantive Motion and it was:-


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



To increase the average housing rent as per the Welsh Government’s Social Housing Rents Policy i.e:-

a)    Properties at target rents to increase by 1.27%

b)    Properties where rent was below target rent, rent to increase by 1.27% plus a maximum progression of £1.00

c)    Those rents above target rent be frozen until such time as they met the target

d)    This will produce an increase on the average housing rent of 1.5% or £1.35


Thereby producing a sustainable Business Plan, maintain CHS+, resource our Affordable Homes programme and was supported by the CHS+ Steering Group.


To implement a maximum progression of £1.00 for rents below target, until target rents were achieved;


To maintain garage rents at £9.00 per week and garage bases at £2.25 per week;


To 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 in line with the rent increases;


To approve the Housing Revenue Account Budget for 2021/22 (2022/23 & 2023/24 being soft budgets) as set out in Appendix A to the report;


To approve the proposed Capital Programme and applicable funding for 2021/22 and the indicative spends for 2022/23 to 2023/24, as set out in Appendix B to the report”.


Supporting documents: