Councillor Tod welcomed to the meeting David Light and Lyn Mellish from TACT who confirmed that they did not wish to make any comments or ask any questions on the report.
Councillor Ferguson introduced the report and highlighted that Cabinet was being requested to note the proposals at this stage as Government confirmation regarding possible rent setting ceilings was awaited.
At the invitation of the Leader, Councillors Horrill and Wallace addressed Cabinet as summarised briefly below.
She acknowledged that it was not possible to agree a business plan at this time but welcomed the preparation outlined in the report. However, she queried why the report had not been discussed in another forum to allow wider councillor input, such as the Cabinet Committee: Housing. She raised a number of detailed questions on the proposals outlined in the report, including querying when the commitment to build new council homes at Passivhaus plus standard had been made?
He queried why some of the assumptions adopted by the council differed between this report and CAB3374 considered above. He suggested that a chart indicating housing asset value alongside borrowing costs would be useful. He also suggested that a future meeting consider in detail the business case for building to the Passivhaus plus standard.
Councillor Ferguson and the Chief Executive responded to comments raised by Councillor Horrill, explaining that due to the significance of the report it had been decided it required consideration by full Cabinet rather than Cabinet Committee and emphasising that the report would also be considered at Scrutiny Committee on 23 November 2022. Councillor Ferguson and the Finance Manager: Housing also provided responses to the detailed queries raised by Councillor Horrill.
As chairperson of the Committee, Councillor Ferguson agreed that the topic of Passivhaus plus homes be considered at a future Cabinet Committee: Housing.
Cabinet agreed to the following for the reasons set out above and outlined in the report.
1. That, in light of the absence of any Government confirmation regarding possible rent setting ceilings and the proposed changes to the rent setting mechanism identified elsewhere within the report, it be noted that at present it is not possible to approve a draft 30-year HRA Business Plan.
2. That the draft HRA Business 30-year Plan for 2022-23 to 2051-52 as summarised in the Operating Account included as Appendix 1 be noted, based upon an assumed 5% rent increase in 2023-24.
3. That the latest forecast 30-year HRA capital investment programme of £1.086m, an increase of £212m on the present plan be noted, subject to the approval of individual schemes; and subject to the final detailed HRA budget and the 10-year Capital Investment Strategy being approved by Council in February 2022.
4. That the impact of different rent assumptions upon the viability of the HRA Business Plan be noted as set out in section 16 of the report and that the final rent decision will be subject to the results of the Government consultation on Rent Ceilings for 2023-24.