Headlines: June 10th, 2003

Independent research has shown that the cost of properly managing and maintaining council housing stocks during 2001-2 may have been 1.5 billion pounds more than was actually spent by local authorities.The results have been published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which says the research supports the decision to give more money to councils to manage their housing in coming years. The study by the Building Research Establishment, concluded that the cost of properly managing and maintaining council houses during 2001-02 could have been as much as 5.5 billion pounds compared with an actual outlay by authorities of nearly 4 billion.

The ODPM says the findings in ‘Estimation of the Need to Spend on Maintenance and Management in Local Authority Housing Stock’ led to the increase in resources to be made available as housing revenue account subsidy during the next few years. English local authorities will receive 6 per cent real increases in both management and maintenance allowances for 2004-05 and 2005-06. That comes on top of a 3.4 per cent real rise nationally in management allowances and a 1 per cent increase in maintenance allowances for 2003-04. Future increases will be considered as part of the next Spending Review.

The Building Research Establishment drew up a comprehensive picture of the costs of providing housing management and maintenance services according to the latest thinking on good practice. It has now been commissioned to develop this ‘need to spend’ model, to produce a more up- to-date and fairer way of distributing allowances for management and maintenance between local authorities. That research will look at the impact of shortages of council housing stock, social factors and regional cost variations. Any proposals for changes in the method of allocation would first go out to consultation.