Council defends its cautious stance on financial forecast

JPCT 130312 Park North, Hosham District Council office. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 130312 Park North, Hosham District Council office. Photo by Derek Martin

The council has said this week that it is not prepared to speculate future receipts of New Homes Bonus (NHB) despite the progress of large developments in the district.

For every new home being built, HDC will receive a Government NHB for that home every year for six years, but in a report presented to council last night (Wednesday) HDC assumes no homes will be built past October 2012 and therefore no NHB for those properties has been factored into the accounts.

But speaking to the County Times this week, director for corporate resources Katherine Eberhart and cabinet member for finance and resources Roger Arthur said they had to be realistic about the amount it expects to receive from the Government.

Ms Eberhart, who presented the Medium Term Financial Strategy to the council last night (Wednesday) said: “We know what our NHB will be next year because it relates to homes occupied by September 2012, but for 2014/15 and 2015/16 we don’t want to continue any additional NHB before those homes are actually developed.”

Her report shows that the Formula Grant from the Government has been decreasing by larger amounts each year and advises it was likely to continue.

“If you look at the difficulties in the Government and the steps they need to take, we are unlikely to find ourselves in a better position than we are in now,” she said.

Mr Arthur said: “In previous recessions growth has come back quickly, but we are still in recession three years on. We cannot predict what’s going to happen. We cannot make builders build.”