‘Best year’ despite challenging times
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