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REPORT NO. 205/02 ANGUS COUNCIL Housing Committee (Special Meeting) - 12 February 2002 REVIEW OF CHARGES FOR 2002/2003 REPORT by DIRECTOR OF HOUSING and DIRECTOR OF FINANCE ABSTRACT This report reviews certain accommodation related charges for the 2002/03 financial year. 1. RECOMMENDATION Given the particular circumstances relating to each of the charges detailed, recommendations are contained within the individual headings. 2. GARAGE SITE RENTALS Please note these relate to garage sites - i.e. where the Council simply provide a site but no garage and charge a site rental accordingly. There are 892 such sites throughout Angus. All site rentals are currently standardised at £47 per annum (having increased by 6.8% from April 2001). R979/98, entitled “Garage Sites Improvement Programme”, (September 1998 Housing Committee) and R24/01 (January 2001) Progress Report, detailed the fairly significant amount of work (ongoing) required to upgrade certain sites. Bearing these in mind, demand, the need to maximise income and inflation, it is recommended that site rentals be increased by 10.6% to £52 per annum for the 2002/03 year. This will generate additional income (depending on occupancy levels) and enhance the improvement programme. 3. SHELTERED HOUSING HEATING CHARGES A heating charge is raised against tenants in certain sheltered housing schemes which are served by a centralised system. The annual review of charges bearing in mind the above, active usage, inflation and better use of competitive pricing leads to a recommendation that the heating charges for the 2002/03 year remain unaltered. (These were in fact slightly reduced for the 2000/01 year). The proposed unaltered charges are:- 2002/2003 £322.00 Single Person £368.00 Couple £529.00 Warden £138.00 Reduced* * Reduced category to apply when tenant temporarily absent (e.g. in hospital). 4. ST CHRISTOPHER’S SITE, TAYOCK Pitch rentals apply on the above site for travelling people. There are 18 pitches available (ten x single and eight x double). Tenants are entitled to apply for Housing Benefit (or rebate) with 90% of rental income being met this way. The annual review of pitch rentals bearing in mind the above, active usage, maintenance needs, associated management overheads, inflation and, in particular security/warden coverage etc leads to a recommendation that the pitch rentals for the 2002/03 year be increased as follows:- Current Charge Proposed Charge Percentage per week per week for Increase 2002/03 Single pitch £25.00 £27.00 8% Double pitch £29.25 £31.60 8% Additional income of £2,018 per annum will be generated. These pitch rentals were increased by 6.4% from April 2001. It will be appreciated, per R14/2000 entitled “Best Value - Service Review, Travelling People’s site Management” (to Housing Committee on 11 January 2000), that these pitch rentals compare very favourably with similar sites in Scotland. 5. HOMELESSNESS ACCOMMODATION - RENTS The Council own and manage a range of furnished accommodation, some of it supervised via Residential Officers, throughout Angus. The rent charges vary depending on the location, size of house/flat/room provided and differ depending on whether the customer is single or part of a family. Customers are entitled to Housing Benefit (or rebate) on such rental charges. The annual review of these rentals, bearing in mind current charges, percentage occupation rates, homelessness demand, maintenance needs, replacement furnishings, management overheads, rents pertaining in the public and private sectors, inflation and in particular, taking account of security needs (24 hours per day in some locations) leads to a recommendation that such rents be increased by an average of 8% for the 2002/03 year. Although additional income will be generated this sum is dependent on usage/payment rates. The undernoted points may impact on rental income and expenditure within 2002/03:- • proposed review of homelessness provision, supervision and security, • ongoing review of the Special Needs Section staff structure allied to “new” monies being made available. Further changes in relation to Housing (Scotland) Act, 2001 homelessness implementation measures will be addressed in due course as will the implications of the Supporting People/charging regime. 6. CONSULTATION The Chief Executive and Director of Law & Administration have been consulted and are in agreement with the recommendations contained within this report. 7. HUMAN RIGHTS IMPLICATIONS It is considered that in following the recommendations in this report, the Council would not be acting in any way which is incompatible with Human Rights. 8. CONCLUSION The Council are obliged to review such charges annually. Bearing in mind the factors outlined above, it is felt the recommendations reflect the net expenses incurred, will not deter usage of the facilities and do not place an undue burden on direct users. RON ASHTON DAVID SAWERS Director of Housing Director of Finance Note:- No background papers, as defined by Section 50d of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, (other than any containing confidential or exempt information), were relied upon to any material extent in preparing this report.
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