London council launches survey ahead of cuts to housing budget

Hackney Council has launched a survey before it draws up plans to cut £11m from its housing budget over the next four years.

The council said the government-imposed 7% cap on council housing rent rises in 2023/24 meant that rental income would not keep pace with rising costs for housing services such as maintenance and repairs.

Tower Bridge, London

The government’s refusal to fund the resulting shortfall means the council faces an £11m black hole in its housing budget over the next four years, leading to a drive to find savings that Hackney Council said would be shaped by the eight-week survey of council housing tenants.

The survey will let participants allocate a total of 100 points across services provided by Housing Services to highlight what is most important to them. The council said they would also be able to see what certain decisions could mean for service delivery.

‘There is no other pot of money, or government funding, we can use to invest in delivering housing services. This means we need to make savings to our housing budget,’ the council said in the introduction to its consultation.

The council warned that funding cuts could mean longer wait times for routine repairs and improvements and delays in tackling anti-social behaviour.

‘I know many of our residents would have been pleased there was a rent cap this year,’ said Clayeon McKenzie, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for housing services and resident participation. ‘However, we did warn that unless the government provided extra funding to cover the shortfall there would be major long term implications for our budgets.

‘We have now been left facing stark choices about how we deliver our housing services in the future – which will have major implications on the people living in our homes and on our estates.

‘It may mean we are unable to carry out the improvements to estates to enhance people’s lives we had wanted to do, people may have to wait longer for things like replacement windows and kitchens, and day-to-day repairs may take longer to carry out than they do now.

‘The decisions we make will impact the lives of the more than 23,000 households living in our homes. This is why I am urging as many of them as possible to have their say through this tool and the face-to-face conversations our staff will be organising. This will ensure we have as much information as possible about what our residents feel are important areas for us to focus our budgets on going forward.’

Image: Veliko Karachiviev


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