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Council / Council house rent likely to rise by 2.5 per cent

THE COST of council house rent is in line to rise by 2.5 per cent in the next financial year.

A report due to be presented to councillors next week said this increase aligns with the previously approved housing revenue business plan for 2017-22.

All 1,700 tenants were consulted on three different potential rent increases after a one per cent rise was imposed for 2021/22 due to the effects of the Covid pandemic.

The three options were 2.5 per cent in line with inflation in the business plan, three per cent which would generate additional investment income and 4.2 per cent – which reflected the national inflation rate in October when the consultation was drawn up.

Unsurprisingly most tenants preferred the smallest increase – 56 per cent picked that option – while around a third went for three per cent.

Thirty eight percent of tenants said they had concerns about the affordability of their rent, while 37 per cent had some worries.

One quarter of respondents said they had no concern.

The number of tenants indicating concern about their ability to pay their rent was higher than the previous year, and folk are being advised as to what support is available.

The proposed rent rise needs to be approved by elected members before it is set in stone, and their final say will be at a meeting of the full council on 16 February.

Based on a 2.5 per cent uplift the average rent for 2022/23 will be £84.08 per week, which is up from £82.04.

Elsewhere in the proposed housing budget an increase of £239,000 is mooted for repairs and maintenance to reflect increased cost and planned works.

The report to councillors stated: “Brexit, following by the Covid-19 pandemic has created issues with the supply chain and led to increases in building material costs far above inflation.

“It is estimated that an increase of £55k is required to the budget for materials in 2022/23.

“The programme of repair work has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and has constantly been under review to try to get back on track. It is expected that restrictions will continue to create delays.”