Ashton Pioneer Homes is a “not-for-profit” organisation, meaning that all surpluses are reinvested in the company. With a turnover of just over £4.5m, APH is an important business in the local community.
The Association has a funding facility with the Nationwide Building Society which initially enabled the acquisition of housing stock from Tameside MBC. This credit arrangement also enables further investment in new and existing developments. We have a 30 year business plan to ensure that we meet our commitments, which currently stand at around £10.1M.
We can comply with the Government’s rent-setting regime without detriment to our services, or to our continuing investment in homes and estates. Our homes are already fully Decent Homes compliant.
Financial performance during the year 2015/2016
The Association reported an operational surplus for the year of £900,000 compared to a surplus for the previous year of £1,191,000. There was an overall increase in gross rental income of £173,000 This was caused by increases to the weekly rent arising from compliance with the government’s rent restructuring initiative.
The Association’s costs have increased over the previous year. The overall increase was £464,000, representing a 1.14% increase.
Effective treasury management lowered the Association’s interest costs £587,000 taking advantage of lower borrowing costs. This represents 16% of the Association’s costs.
The Association has 2 wholly owned subsidiaries named APH Developments Limited and Pioneer Homes Services Limited, which deliver the required expertise and project management on behalf of Ashton Pioneer Homes for new build programmes, and the management of homes owned by third parties. A contract between the parties embodies the pursuit of common strategic objectives whilst affording the Association a considerable measure of risk management control.
The Association has two IT contracts, one with SASSHA that involves the provision, implementation and on-going maintenance of the Housing Management system and one with ITLab (formerly JMC) to maintain and update the Finance systems together with IT office and network systems.
As Ashton Pioneer Homes is an ERCF (Estate Renewal Challenge Fund Transfer), and was one of the first in England, its long term finances are managed by a 30year financial business plan which must show that the Association can repay its loans within the period set by its funders, The Nationwide Building Society. Ashton Pioneer Homes has fully met and generally exceeded its business plan, which has delivered scope for building additional family homes and enhanced services to our tenants.
Stock movements in the year
The Association had 929 properties under management and 11 under development at 31st March 2016, including the freeholds of 7 properties disposed of under RTB legislation.
Assets are included in the Balance Sheet at cost, less Social Housing Grants and property depreciation. The net cost at 31st March 2016 was £10.639m. The assets are valued for loan security purposes on an annual basis by external consultants, and the valuations are considerably higher than historic cost
The 1% reduction in the rents of social landlords each year for four years substantially changes our financial Business Plan. Compared to the ten year rent formula announced in 2014 by the previous coalition government which determined that rents would increase by the rate of CPI plus 1% each year, this means that over the life of our 30 year Finance Plan there will be a shortfall in rental income of approximately £9m.
In order to address this, due to the nature of our tenancies we hope to convert the company to a Registered Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies act 2014 as part of a process that should save in the region of £10m in Corporation Tax.
During the last financial year, our total borrowings reduced to £10.1m with the Company now repaying loans to the Nationwide.