Fears in AHA annual report

ANGUS Housing Association has released its annual report and despite a healthy financial surplus, they say they have effectively closed their development department.

Outgoing chairman Hazel Farquhar has told the association’s tenants and members that while there was a surplus of £250,000, the downside of the year had been the need to reduce the size of the staff.

This was done following a review of the association’s governance and staffing structure prompted mainly by huge cuts in Scottish Government funding for new housing provision by Housing Associations.

Ms Farquhar reported that regardless of having completed their restructuring without the need for compulsory redundancies, the process had been far from painless and paid tribute to several long standing staff members.

It was also reported the number of new builds for affordable rents had dropped to just 20 homes with 14 at Westfield, Carnoustie, and six at Lord Lyell Drive in Kirriemuir. This was down from 100 homes three years ago.

But looking to the future, Mrs Farquhar added: “Indications at present are, however, that those unfortunate enough to be on our waiting list for a rented home are unlikely to be helped any time soon.

“Currently, we are only planning to build four new houses in Arbroath in 2012/13.

“Beyond that, we have no definite plans for growth by development.

“The Scottish Government’s budget of £710 million for housing supply for the next three years, coupled with the new and unrealistically low, indicative levels of public subsidy per unit, leave us very fearful we will ever be able to develop new homes again.”