Council house rent increased as budget approved

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Councillors have approved the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget for 2015/16 at a meeting of the full Aberdeenshire Council.

The council has a statutory duty for the Housing Revenue Account to be separately ring-fenced from its general budget fund.

Among the changes approved by elected members last Thursday were revisions to charges for council house rent rates, sheltered housing and homeless temporary accommodation.

Members agreed to a 4.5% increase in council house rent charges from April 1. This is the last year of a three-year programme of agreed rent uplift, introduced in April 2013, following detailed consultation with council house tenants.

Elected members also approved an inflation (3.3%) increase to the current Sheltered Housing Management Charge and the Sheltered Housing Service Charge.

Addressing the meeting, chair of Social Work and Housing Committee, Cllr Karen Clark, said: “In general, the budget proposals are to increase charges for 2015-16 in line with the inflationary figure of 3.3%.

‘‘We have stuck by our three-year agreement with tenants for rent increase of 4.5% per annum replacing the historic inflation plus 2%.

“We have also been mindful of the historic increase in fuel costs and therefore charges made for heating and lighting in sheltered housing and temporary accommodation will not be increased.

“Housing’s 30-year Business Plan is central to maintaining the pace of housing stock improvements.

“We are also delivering much needed new affordable housing for rent, re-modelling our housing for particular needs while maintaining affordable rent levels.’’