Housing Revenue Account (HRA) statistics: income and expenditure

This bulletin presents statistics on local authority housing income and expenditure in Scotland from their Housing Revenue Accounts (HRAs).

Key Points

Balance of HRA housing income and expendiure

  • Total HRA housing income was £1.15bn in 2016-17, of which around £620m was spent on the day-to-day management and maintenance of housing and around £270m on loan charges.
  • This left a surplus of around £225m, of which around £200m was transferred to the council's housing capital expenditure account and then invested in new build council houses and improvement to existing houses.
  • In 2016-17, rent rebate subsidy for council house tenants from Housing Benefit was around £581m or 53% of total income from standard rents. This has decreased each year since 2014-15 when it was 57%.

Scottish council housing stock and rents

  • Councils had 312,100 houses at March 2017, down 1,600 on March 2016. However the number of properties is estimated to increase by around 900 to almost 313,000 by March 2018.
  • Average rent per house was £68 per week in 2016-17, up £2 or 3% on 2015-16. In 2016-17 average rents ranged from £55 per week in Moray to £94 in the City of Edinburgh.
  • Council rents have increased by around 1.6% since 2015-16 in real terms i.e. over and above general inflation.

Management and maintenance of stock

  • Average expenditure on management and maintenance was £1,955 per house in 2016-17. Within this supervision and management costs were £785 per house, whilst repairs & maintenance costs were £1,170 per house.

Empty properties and rent arrears

  • Councils lost almost £18m due to empty properties (void losses) on all properties in 2016-17 or 1.6% of the Standard Rental Income on these properties, about the same in the last three years but below the peak of 3.7% in 2002-03.
  • As at March 2017, rent arrears on all council dwellings was £64m, up £2.5m (4%) on last year, representing 5.8% of Standard Rental Income from these dwellings. These arrears have been rising steadily year on year since March 2013[r].
  • During the same period, the number of council tenants in arrears has dropped by around 800 tenants or 1.0% to 96,650 and the number of former tenants in arrears also decreased by around 750 tenants or 2.0% to around 32,150.

Housing Debt

  • In 2016-17 councils spent around £270m 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 £3.6bn in 2016-17 an increase of around £140m (3%) on the previous year. However the debt decreased for eight councils and was no higher for six councils. Councils borrowed this money to improve and build council houses.


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