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Cabinet asked to consider housing budget

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Members of Dudley Council’s cabinet will be asked to consider next year’s housing budget which could see more than £40 million spent across the service.

The proposed budget 2020/2021 sees £18.6million allocated to housing management to cover day-to-day duties such as income collection, tenancy enforcement, and support for vulnerable tenants as well as lettings and void management.

It also outlines plans to invest £23.8million to cover the cost of responsive repairs and routine void works as well as annual statutory duties such as servicing of gas appliances, electrical inspections and lift servicing.

The proposed budget also takes into account changes to rent charges. For the last four years, the government has imposed a one percent reduction to social landlords’ rents to bring them in line with government guidelines.

From April 2020, the council along with other authorities will be able to once again follow the government’s self-financing system, which gives them more control over their rent, allowing them to retain all of the income.

Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing, communities and residents’ welfare, said:

Over the last four years, Dudley residents have seen a one percent reduction in their rents every year to bring them in line with government recommendations which has been hugely beneficial to our tenants.
The reduction has created a challenge to manage housing budgets however, with government restrictions now lifted, we’re suggesting a small increase in rent. We will be able to ring fence this for investment in services for our tenants as we move forward. Rents will still be lower than they were in 2016 when we first began the rent decrease which is great news for our tenants.
This budget is about boosting investment in housing services and thinking about how we plan for the future to ensure we maintain the standards we constantly strive for.

The budget proposes a 2.7 percent increase in rent charges, which will see the average weekly rent increase from £76.47 to £78.53.

Members will be asked to consider all of these proposals along with a revised capital programme and a 30 year business plan for the Housing Revenue Account when the cabinet meets on Thursday October 31.

The full details of the proposed housing budget can be found at – http://cmis.dudley.gov.uk/cmis5/Meetings/tabid/116/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/543/Meeting/5873/Committee/468/Default.aspx

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