Scottish Council Housing Income and Expenditure 2018-19 (actuals) and 2019-20 (estimates)

An official statistics publication for Scotland.

Statistics published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician show income from council houses was £1.21 billion in 2018-19. Of this, around £656 million was spent on housing management and maintenance and £277 million on loan charges. The surplus of £234 million was invested in housing capital projects, including new build council houses and enhancing existing stock.

Provisional estimates show councils invested £738 million in housing capital projects including £286 million on new council houses and £389 million on enhancement to existing council houses.

There were 311,240 council houses in Scotland in March 2019, which is is an increase of around 1,100 houses since March 2018. This is forecast to increase by 1,300 by March 2020.

These figures provide the latest Housing Revenue Account (HRA) statistics detailing councils’ housing income and expenditure in 2018-19 and estimates for 2019-20. Other key findings include:

Housing management and maintenance 

The average amount spent on the day-to-day management and maintenance of council housing was £2,080 per house in 2018-19.

Council rents

In 2018-19 average council rents ranged from £60 per week in Moray to £97 per week in the City of Edinburgh. Tenants paid an average of £72 per week to rent their homes in 2018-19, an increase of just over £2.00 or 3% per week since 2017-18.   

Income from Housing Benefit

In 2018-19, rent rebate subsidy for council house tenants from Housing Benefit was around £519 million or 45% of total income from standard rents. This has decreased each year since 2014-15 when it was 57%. In 2018-19 rent rebate subsidy as a proportion of standard rents varied from 30% in East Lothian and the Shetland Islands to 60% in Renfrewshire.

Rent arrears

In March 2019, rent arrears on all council properties was £74 million, up £9.0 million (14.0%) on last year. This increase represents 6.2% of the total income from council properties. During the same period, the number of council tenants in arrears has increased by around 2,940 tenants or 3% to 102,702 and the number of former tenants in arrears decreased by around 2,180 tenants or 7.0% to around 30,400.

Rent arrears written-off 

In 2018-19 budgets, councils wrote off nearly £10.8 million of outstanding rent as unrecoverable, compared to £10.1 million in the previous year.

Housing debt

Councils spent £277 million on HRA loan charges: interest, capital repayment and loan fund expenses, in 2018-19. Total council housing debt stood at £3.8 billion in 2018-19 an increase of around £255 million or 6.0% on the previous year. Councils borrowed to improve and build council houses. Council housing debt is forecast to rise to £4.3 billion up £480 million in 2019-20.

Capital expenditure

Councils’ provisional housing capital expenditure was estimated to be £738 million in 2018-19. This included just over £389 million on improvements to existing council houses and £286 million 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.

Notes to Editors

The full statistical publication, Excel tables, charts and definitions can be accessed online.

The bulletin covers the period 1997-98 up to local authorities’ near actual spend for 2018-19. The 2019-20 figures are budgeted estimates only and as such may be subject to change.

  • 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

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed online.


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