Aberdeenshire to set housing budget

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Councillors will meet later this week to set the council’s housing revenue budget, including rents and charges for the next year.

In line with Aberdeenshire Council’s main budget, councillors will be asked to consider a five-year financial plan to ensure that the local authority is well prepared for the challenges ahead.

They will be asked to support a recommendation to increase council house rents by an average of £2.59 a week, which has been supported by tenants through consultation activity that has taken place. That should ensure that Aberdeenshire rents continue to be below the Scottish average.

It is further proposed that rents should be increased by RPI plus 2% for 2013/14 and 2014/15, subject to consultation with tenants and a review of the business plan. The proposals will contribute towards the implementation of the 30-year housing business plan where there is continued investment in housing stock to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

Councillors will also be asked on Thursday to consider a range of other charges including sheltered housing charges, heating and lighting, garage rents and temporary accommodation.

Most charges will rise in line with inflation, although increases to heat and light charges in sheltered housing are proposed to be restricted once again.

Since 2006, sheltered housing tenants have been protected from sustained energy increases by restricting increases in charges to 10% a year. With energy prices predicted to increase to 17.5% over the next year, councillors will be asked to restrict the heat and light charge to 12.1% and the council will continue to invest in delivering energy efficiencies across its housing estate.

Councillors will also be asked to support changes to the pricing model at Greenbanks Travelling Persons Caravan site, with a single charge of £64.35 for up to two stances.