The Scottish Government published its latest ‘Local Authority Housing Income and Expenditure’ statistics on 15th November 2013. This briefing paper summarises and comments on the statistics.
The summary provides the latest information on, and key trends in, Local Authority housing revenue account income and expenditure in Scotland. It covers the period 1997/98 up to Local Authorities’ budgeted estimates for 2013/14. The 2013/14 figures are estimates only and they will be revised in next year’s bulletin. The obligation on Scottish local authorities to account for expenditure and income on council housing through a ring-fenced housing revenue account is derived from the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.
Budgets for 2013/14 confirm trends that have been evident during recent years in Scottish local authority housing finance. Capital investment continues to increase and is being funded increasingly through borrowing. Costs are increasing because increased borrowing leads to increased capital financing costs and also because of real increases in management and maintenance costs. This is resulting in real increases in rents.
Rents and levels of expenditure vary significantly between different authorities. This is partly due to historic decisions about capital expenditure and financing that have led to different levels of debt but also results from variations in expenditure. This has led some commentators to question whether value for money can be demonstrated to be achieved by all local authorities. However, differences in accounting practices make meaningful comparisons difficult.
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