New Government proposals will see council tenants benefit from a one per cent reduction in rents for the next four years as part of a commitment to reducing the cost of housing benefit.
A one per cent reduction in rents for 2016-17 will see Swindon Borough Council’s Housing Service with £688,500 less income from rents next year.
Cost savings have been made next year to offset this loss of rent so no further cuts are required, however, this will present a very challenging position in future years and tenants are being asked for their views on four options to manage the shortfall from 2017 to 2020.
Service charges are calculated separately and may increase in order to recover the full cost.
Tenants are being asked to choose whether to use housing reserves (savings in the bank), repay less of the housing annual debt, reduce the amount spent on improving council homes or a combination of the first two options, i.e. using a smaller amount of savings and a reduced debt repayment.
A fall in expenditure of £688,500 in future years could have a significant impact on the council’s home improvement programme. For example, it could equate to around 265 fewer new bathrooms, or 186 fewer new kitchens, or 229 fewer homes with new windows installed.
Tenants have until Monday, 4 January 2015 to tell the council which option they would prefer by completing an online survey at: www.voiceyourviews.co.uk Further information or a paper copy of the survey form can be obtained by calling 01793 445503 or emailing: email@example.com
Cllr Emma Faramarzi, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The rent decrease is clearly good news for tenants, but we really need to hear their views on how we plug that expenditure shortfall from 2017 so we can continue to improve tenants’ homes.
“The responses we receive will be considered by the Housing Advisory Forum in January and will then go before the Cabinet and Full Council the following month. Tenants will then be informed of the preferred option by letter at the end of February.”