Housing budget set in Moray
Moray Council has approved a £22.8m budget for housing services in 2023/24.
A 3.5% increase in rent for local authority tenants has also been confirmed, following consultation with tenants.
The increase sees Moray Council remain as the lowest charging local authority landlord in Scotland.
Tenants were given the option of a 3.5% increase or 5%, both of which are well below the rate of inflation, with just over 80% of tenants who responded opting for the 3.5% increase.
The two-yearly garage rents are to increase by 8.5%; alongside grass cutting charges increasing by 3.5%; while the sheltered housing budget increases to £0.063m; and repairs and maintenance spending increases to £10.696m to account for increased labour and materials costs.
Elected members have also allocated almost £56m to new builds over the coming three years.
Continuation of work to ensure electrical standards are met and a £7.435m programme of energy efficiency and insulation work are included.
Council Leader, Cllr Kathleen Robertson, said of the changes: “Given the housing budget is effectively separate from the wider council budget we must ensure a balanced Housing Revenue Account. The level of income generated directly influences what we can fund when it comes to new builds, repairs and support to tenants.
“A 3.5% increase in rent is significant, particularly in light of the increased cost of living in all areas of life right now. However, we must also caution that, as this is the second year in a row the minimum increase has been chosen, a higher increase in future years is inevitable.
“As with all areas of service delivery costs are going up, temporary accommodation is an example of where we’re seeing that most keenly, and I thank the housing team for all their efforts to balance the budget while providing a professional and valued service.”
Chair of the Housing and Community Safety Committee, Cllr Amber Dunbar, added: “Despite increases to costs of delivery we’re mindful of the need to maintain affordability within our housing offer. To have a balanced budget while fulfilling our statutory requirements around energy efficiency, smoke alarm installations, and more is a considerable achievement and I add my thanks to the team for managing this.”