Scottish Council Housing Income and Expenditure 2017-18

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Statistics published today by Scotland's Chief Statistician show that in 2017-18 Scottish councils spent £625m on the day-to-day management and maintenance of council housing and £275m on loan charges.  They also invested £690m in capital housing projects included £293m on new council houses and £399m on enhancement to existing council houses.  Tenants paid an average of £69 per week to rent their homes an increase of £1.50 or 2% since 2016-17.

These figures, published today, provide the latest Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Statistics detailing councils housing income and expenditure in 2017-18 and forecasts for 2018-19. Other key findings include:

  • Housing management and maintenance.  The average amount spent on the day-to-day management and maintenance of council housing was £1,990 per house in 2017-18.
  • Council houses and rents. There were 310,150 council houses in Scotland as at March 2018. This is a decrease of around 2,000 houses since March 2017. However, the number is forecast to rise to 311,320 (up 1,200) by March 2019.  In 2017-18 average council rents ranged from £57 per week in Moray to £94 per week in the City of Edinburgh.
  • Total HRA income and expenditure. Total HRA income from council houses was £1.1bn in 2017-18, of which around £625m was spent on the management and maintenance of housing and £275m on loan chargers. This left a surplus of £236m of which £228m which was invested in housing capital projects, including new build council houses and stock enhancements. 
  • Income from Housing Benefit. In 2017-18, rent rebate subsidy for council house tenants from Housing Benefit was around £562m or 50% of total income from standard rents.  This has decreased each year since 2014-15 when it was 57%.  In 2017-18, rent rebate subsidy as a proportion of standard rents varied from 30% in the Shetland Islands to 67% in Dundee City.
  • Rent arrears. As at March 2017, rent arrears on council dwellings was £66m, up £2.4m (3.8%) on last year, representing 5.7% of Standard Rental Income from these dwellings.  During the same period, the number of council tenants in arrears has increase by around 3,130 tenants or 3.2% to 99,760 and the number of former tenants in arrears also increase by around 440 tenants or 1.4% to around 32,580.
  • Rent arrears written-off. In 2017-18 budgets, councils wrote-off nearly £10.1m of outstanding rent as unrecoverable (this represents 1.0% of Standard Rental Income) which was around £0.3m less than the previous year (£10.4m). 
  • Housing debt.  Councils spent £275m on HRA loan charges (interest, capital repayment and loan fund expenses) in 2017-18, an increase of £5m since 2016-17. Total estimated council housing debt stood at £3.6bn in 2017-18 a decrease of around £5m (0.1%) on the previous year. The debt decreased for fourteen councils and increased for the remaining twelve councils with an HRA.  Councils borrowed this money to improve and build council houses. Council housing debt is forecast to rise to £3.9bn (up £300m) in 2017-18.
  • Capital expenditure. Council's housing capital expenditure was around £690m in 2017-18 (this included the HRA surplus reported above). This included just over £399m on improvements to existing council houses and £293m on new council houses.  This expenditure is in addition to the day-to-day maintenance referred to above.
  • The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


1.The full statistical publication is available on the Scottish Government website.

2. The bulletin covers the period 1997-98 up to Local Authorities' near actual spend for 2017-18. The 2018-19 figures are budgeted estimates only and as such may be subject to change.

3. The topics covered in this publication include:

  • council housing stock and rents
  • council housing management and maintenance
  • council stock void losses (empty properties) and tenant rent arrears
  • council housing debt
  • capital expenditure by councils

4.Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards and more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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