Agenda item

Housing Revenue Account (HRA), Business Plan Budget 2021, Rent Setting and Service Charges

To receive the joint report of the Executive Director of Place and Executive Director of Resources presenting for approval the revenue estimates of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) for 2021/22, Business Plan Budget 2021/22 and rent setting and service charges.                                 


Members are asked to note that this report was considered by Cabinet on 3 February 2021 and recommended to Council. 


Councillor Needs moved and Councillor Caliskan seconded the report of the Executive Director Place and Executive Director Finance, on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan Budget 2021/22, Rent Setting and Service Charges.




1.            That the recommendations in the report had been endorsed and approved for recommendation onto Council by Cabinet on 3 February 2021.


2.            Councillor Needs in proposing the report highlighted the following: 

·         The report should be read in conjunction with the report at item 11, Better Council Homes.

·         The report set out the work being done on existing and new council homes and the income, rents fees and service charges in line with policies, for the next year. 

·         This was a five year settlement.  There would be a 1.5% rent increase in line with Government guidelines.

·         Officers were working with residents to help them sustain their tenancies.

·         To urge the Government to keep in place a universal uplift of £20 in the level of universal credit. 


3.            Councillor Smith responded on behalf of the majority opposition highlighting the following:

·         Agreement with some of the provisions in the report but disagreement with most. 

·         Agreement that there should be investment in Council housing but a view that tenures should be mixed and new properties should be built privately.

·         Support for minimising rent increases and service charges but regret for the failure to listen to a recent court of appeal judgement.

·         Welcome for the achievement of 5% efficiency savings.

·         Disagreement with the move to bring housing development back in house, because of the Council’s perceived poor track record in this area. 

·         Preference for partnership working with other organisations who had greater access to grant funding and because it took too long for council housing departments to build up the skills and experience necessary.

·         Concern about the increase in charges for garages and community halls as it was a time, once restrictions were lifted to encourage community use of the halls. 


4.            Comments of the majority group: 

·         The need to acknowledge the achievement in keeping the Housing Revenue Account in balance and in keeping rises to 1.5%, which meant that the rents were still affordable.  Rents were set in consultation with residents through Customer Voice.

·         There was a need to generate income and to create new housing units: 3,500 extra units were planned as part of the 10 year capital programme. 

·         The overall housing plans were ambitious, but achievable.

·         Congratulations to everyone involved in putting together the plans. 

·         The report should be considered alongside other reports on the agenda and members should be reassured that borrowing was on a risk-based approach, and the plans spread over ten years.

·         Estate renewal and redevelopment were essential to create more much needed affordable homes and transform existing homes.  This is what Enfield residents deserved. 

·         Homes in the first phase of the Meridian Water project were under construction.  The Government had praised the Council for the work done so far and awarded funds for infrastructure works. 

·         Housing Associations were obvious partners.

·         The report contained some debt reprofiling. 

·         Recent Government proposals if enacted would mean a reduction in funding for affordable housing. 


5.            Comment of the majority opposition group members: 

·         Concern that the programme might slip as it had done in the past and that the 3,500 homes would not be built.

·         Concern that an increase of 5% in the rent for community halls in deprived areas, which were already underused, would price local groups out.  The Council should be supporting groups who would like to meet, once restrictions are lifted and to encourage smaller social gatherings.

·         Concern that the Council had failed to offer a rent holiday for Council owned shops which was not supportive to local business. 


6.            The summing up by Councillor Needs that this report would lead to direct investment in and the creation of more affordable homes to meet existing residents’ needs and enable more families to remain in the borough.  Customer Voice had been consulted and had agreed to the changes proposed.  Hall hire costs had been reduced last year and were only being bought back into line with what they had been before the pandemic. 


The recommendations in the report were agreed, after a series of votes with the results listed after the recommendations: 




1.            To approve the HRA 30-Year Business Plan shown in Appendix 1

2.            To approve the detailed HRA Revenue Budget for 2021/22 as shown in paragraph 20 to the report. 

3.            To approve the 10-year HRA Capital Programme and additional borrowing requirements to deliver 3,500 additional units

4.            To approve the level of service charges for 2021/22 for those properties receiving this service.

5.            To approve the charges for community hall hire, garages and parking bay rents.

6.            To note the introduction of service charges to the later living schemes for existing residents subject to engagement. 


For:  38

Against:  20

Abstentions:  0


7.            To approve a rent increase for 1.5% in line with Government guidelines noting the social and affordable rent levels for 10,400 properties in 2021/22. 

8.            To note the heating charges for 2021/22 for those properties on communal heating systems.

9.            To approve the rent and tenancy policy in appendix 2.


For:  53

Against: 4

Abstentions: 1


Councillor Stewart moved and Councillor Barnes seconded a proposal to extend the time allowed to debate reports by a further 10 minutes.  This was agreed unanimously without a vote. 

Supporting documents: