‘Best year’ despite chal­leng­ing times

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews -

HAL­TON Hous­ing Trust (HHT) de­liv­ered its ‘best ever’ year despite work­ing in an ‘in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing’ en­vi­ron­ment.

The trust’s an­nual re­port has been heard by Hal­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive board.

HHT chief ex­ec­u­tive Nick Atkin and board chair In­grid Fife up­dated coun­cil­lors on achieve­ments over the past 12 months.

A re­port pre­pared be­fore the meet­ing said that HHT will have its in­come re­duced by £10m over the next four years through a ben­e­fits freeze, a change to a ben­e­fits cap and a 1% drop in rents.

HHT’s op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment is be­com­ing ‘in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing’ and the re­port said that a ‘sig­nif­i­cant amount’ of work has been done to un­der­stand the im­pact of po­ten­tial sav­ings.

The re­port said: “We need to ac­cept that our world has changed and there is no go­ing back.

“The re­duc­tion in our rental in­come pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to ask much harder ques­tions on what value is be­ing added by some of the work we are do­ing and whether we are ac­tu­ally best placed to con­tinue to do this.

“Some things can be done when times are good but we are about to head into a much tougher fi­nan­cial and op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment and we need to cut our cloth ac­cord­ingly.

“This will fun­da­men­tally af­fect the ser­vices we are able to of­fer.”

The doc­u­ment said how­ever that the 2015-16 fi­nan­cial year has been ● HHT’s ‘best ever’ in terms of achieve­ments.

Work un­der­taken over the past year in­cludes com­plet­ing the con­struc­tion of 146 new homes in the bor­ough and bring­ing the to­tal to more than 800 across Run­corn and Widnes.

The trust also in­vested more than £8m in im­prov­ing its cus­tomers homes to bring to­tal spend­ing over the past decade to more than £138m.

Land has also been pur­chased for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment to en­sure a ‘con­tin­ued pipe­line’ of homes across Hal­ton.

The re­port also said that 73 cus­tomers were evicted from HHT homes over the year. A to­tal of 68 of these were for rent ar­rears and five for anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, and over­all is a drop of two com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

The num­ber of homes HHT owns and man­ages also in­creased over the year from 6,656 to 6,767.

Nick Atkin of Hal­ton Hous­ing Trust

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