Housing Revenue Account (HRA) statistics: local authority housing income and expenditure 1997-1998 to 2019-2020 (near actuals) and 2020-2021 (budgeted estimates)

This annual publication provides information on trends in the balance of HRA housing income and expenditure; the amount Scottish councils earned from housing and other council stock, how they spent this income and whether there was a surplus or deficit at year end.


This annual publication provides information on recent trends in:

  • The balance of HRA housing income and expenditure - the amount councils earned from housing and other council stock, how they spent this income and whether there was a surplus or deficit at year end.
  • Council housing stock and rents - number of council homes & average weekly rent.
  • HRA expenditure on management and maintenance of stock - the amount councils spent on housing maintenance, repairs and management.
  • Lost income due to empty properties and rent arrears - including the number of current and former tenants in arrears and the amount of arrears.
  • Housing debt - the amount spent on loan charges, interest, capital repayment and loan fund expenses.
  • Additional capital expenditure - on new build and enhancements to existing stock.
  • Tenant participation - in how the HRA funds are managed.

Some of the figures included in this bulletin for 2019-20 (actuals) and 2020-21 (estimates) may have been impacted on number by restrictions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Further information about the impacts is available at paragraphs 8 to 12.

These data are used by councils to monitor, manage and plan housing finances. The HRA survey is checked by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. 2019-20 data are actuals (unaudited). 2020-21 are estimates. The bulletin is accompanied by tables, charts and survey form/ guidance. Some of the captial investment figures at the end of this bulletin (paragraph 36 onwards) are from different sources; Scottish Government Capital Return (CR) Final (final, audited figures for all years up to and including 2018-19) and the Scottish Government Capital Provisional Outturn and Budget Estimate (CPOBE) 2020 return (provisional outturn figures for 2019-20). Historical HRA data are available at: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/HSfS/HRAmainpage. and Housing Statistics for Scotland - Housing Revenue Account (nrscotland.gov.uk).

Key Points

Balance of HRA housing income and expendiure:

  • Total HRA housing income was £1.25bn in 2019-20, of which £680m was spent on the day-to-day supervision, management, repair and maintenance of housing and £273m on loan charges.
  • This left a surplus of £237m which was transferred to the council’s housing capital expenditure account and to invest in new council houses and stock improvements.
  • In 2019-20, rent rebate subsidy for council house tenants from Housing Benefit was £492m or 41% of total income from standard rents. This has decreased each year since 2014-15 when it was 57%.

Scottish council housing stock and rents:

  • There were 312,100 council houses in Scotland as at March 2020. This is an increase of 861 houses since March 2019. The number is forecast to rise to 314,475 (up 2,375) by March 2021. Average rent per house was £73.29 per week in 2019-20, up by just over £1.90 on 2018-19. In 2019-20 average rents ranged from £60 per week in Moray to £96 in the City of Edinburgh.
  • Council rents have increased by 8% (£8) since 2010-11 in real terms (above inflation).

Management and maintenance of stock:

  • Average expenditure on management and maintenance was £2,148 per house in 2019-20. Within this supervision and management costs were £878 per house, whilst repairs and maintenance costs were £1,270 per house.

Empty properties and rent arrears:

  • Councils lost £22m due to all empty properties (void losses) on all properties in 2019-20 or 1.8% of the Standard Rental Income on these properties, about the same as last year but below the peak of 3.7% in 2002-03.
  • As at March 2020, rent arrears on all council properties was £79m, up £5.6m (7.6%) on last year, representing 6.5% of Standard Rental Income from these dwellings. These arrears have been rising steadily year on year since March 2013.
  • During the same period, the number of council tenants in arrears has increased by 210 tenants to 102,912 and the number of former tenants in arrears decreased by 3,876 to 30,397 as at March 2020.

Housing Debt:

  • In 2019-20 councils spent £273m on loan charges to the HRA (which includes interest, capital repayment and loan fund expenses), the same as in the previous year.
  • Total estimated council housing debt stood at £4.02bn in 2019-20 an increase of £249m (6.6%) on the previous year. Councils borrowed this money to improve and build council houses.


Email: chma@gov.scot

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