£6m measures to plug housing gap
A £6M package of measures has been agreed by West Lancashire to address a budget gap in its housing business plan.
The council was facing a reduction in revenue from what it previously expected as a change in Government policy means rents are being reduced by 1% every year until 2020.
Previously the government’s framework formula stated that rents would increase by inflation plus 1% per year.
To begin the process of tackling the problem the council took steps including making savings in its housing refurbishment plans and managing staff levels.
The authority was allowed to raise the rents in sheltered housing by 0.9 per cent, but it still faced a total budget shortfall of £7.95m in its annual housing budgets over the next three years up to 2019/2020.
Over summer 2016, the council consulted tenants on a series of measures to bridge the gap. These were:
Removal of mains water replacement programme
Removal of the specific programme to replace fencing and paving and replacing it with cyclical repairs
Introduce a charge for the gardening service of £5 per week for 26 weeks per year
Results of the consultation were brought to the council meeting last Wednesday and the measures were approved by councillors.