Self Financing Budgets and Business Plans

Briefing Paper

This briefing paper looks at the preparation of budgets and business plans with self-financing in the local authority housing revenue account.

It considers: what is a business plan, how to write a business plan, business plan templates and business cases.

The implementation of self-financing has allowed local authorities to plan ahead with more certainty leading them to produce more robust business plans and asset management plans. Members and tenants are able to consider their long-term priorities around such matters as housing and environmental improvements, how often components such as kitchens are replaced, the green agenda, redevelopment, regeneration and new build.

It is clear that local authorities are responding differently to the challenges and opportunities that have been provided by self-financing. Some are focusing on achieving and maintaining the decent homes standard while balancing the housing revenue account; and others are considering how to use their surpluses.

Many councils, especially those that had been ‘debt free’ prior to self-financing, initially intended to repay their debt as soon as practicable. However, in view of the relatively low rates of interest at which councils were able to borrow, many of these have since decided that repaying debt is a lower priority in the short to medium term than spending the money on improvements or new build.

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