To ensure high-quality safe homes are provided to East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) tenants, despite financial challenges, a plan has been agreed by the EDDC Cabinet which will now be passed to Full Council for approval.

Inflation and meeting new regulatory standards are some of the factors placing pressure on the housing service’s finances. Repairing, maintaining and making safe its homes is a priority area for the council. This has not been helped by historic underinvestment in the housing service.

To address these issues, the Council’s cabinet has proposed a series of actions, with key steps including:

1. an additional £2.5 million of borrowing to balance the 2023/24 housing revenue account budget and a revised budget of £7.3 million for projects planned for 2024/25 (such as meeting housing regulations).

2. up to £1.75 million of the housing service’s reserves will cover the projected budget shortfall for 2024/25.

3. a target of £250,000 annual savings in the housing service’s income over the next three years to replenish its reserves.

4. a short-term financial sustainability plan, aims to both increase the housing service’s income and to deliver savings, informed by recommendations from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

Councillor Dan Ledger, EDDC’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities, said:

"We are committed to addressing the financial challenges head-on to ensure our tenants have access to safe and high-quality housing and homes. These measures will not only stabilise our finances but also lay the groundwork for a sustainable future for our housing services."

The surveyors Savills are assisting EDDC with exploring how the council can effectively manage and maintain its housing stock going forwards. It was agreed by EDDC’s cabinet to provide regular updates to councillors and officers expect to provide a further update in the autumn.