Councillors are to consider proposals to increase council housing rent by an average 6.69 per cent, in order to meet financial restrictions imposed by central government.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Improving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee will discuss the proposals next week (Wednesday 22 December), ahead of a decision being made at the authority’s full council meeting on 27 January.
The proposals will affect around 36 per cent of council households which do not receive full housing benefit ““ around 6,300 households. It will mean an average weekly rent increase of around £4, to £65.72. The council has around 19,000 properties in the city.
The council’s proposals are lower than the average national guideline for rent increases, which is 6.8 per cent. The increase is in line with government plans to bring council housing rent to a similar level to housing associations by 2015.
“Unfortunately we have had no choice but to consider these proposals as the government has increased the amount of subsidy we have to pay by £3.5million.
“It is essential that we comply with government guidelines to allow us to maximise housing subsidy and housing benefit arrangements for the city.
“Rent rises are set to take place across the country, but a lot of hard work has gone in to ensuring the proposals in Stoke-on-Trent are applied as fairly as possible. The proposed rise in the city is below the national average, and the average rent for affordable properties in Stoke-on-Trent is still less than most neighbouring authorities.
“We remain committed to helping ensure everyone in a council property is able to have affordable quality housing as we move into 2011. I would like to reassure all tenants that we will continue to invest in housing. Our decent homes scheme draws to a close in 2010 and has played an important role in driving up the quality of accommodation, and we have put in place a planned maintenance programme to build on that.”