Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Council House Tenants Face Massive Rent Rises; 7% Increase Branded a 'Disgrace'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Council House Tenants Face Massive Rent Rises; 7% Increase Branded a 'Disgrace'

Article excerpt

Byline: AMY HUNT

RENTS for thousands of council house tenants are set to soar by a budget-busting 7% plus, the Chronicle can reveal.

Rent looks likely to be hiked from April, adding at least pounds 4.20 a week, or nearly pounds 220 a year, to families' bills.

The boss of one council housing association has criticised the Con-Dem coalition Government, which sets the rules for rent rises, calling the situation "disgraceful" and saying poorer families will be badly hit.

And there are warnings of further rent increases in coming years as part of attempts to reform the housing system.

The revelation came as British Gas became the latest energy firm to raise its prices, adding 7% to the cost of electricity and gas, equivalent to pounds 80 on the average family's annual bill.

The amount by which bosses of council arms length housing associations (Almos) can increase their rent by each year is limited by the Government as part of a scheme to streamline rents across different housing associations and between council and private rented homes.

Because they rely so heavily on the Government for funding in the form of subsidies, they have to go along with recommendations Draft rises effect in April North Tyneside: Northumberland: Newcastle: Durham: Gateshead: be 6.8% South Tyneside: decided or face losing cash to spend on services and improvements.

This year the Department for Communities and Local Government is recommending an average rise of 6.8%, which is based on the rate of inflation in September, 4.6%, plus 0.5%.

Individual Almos then add on an extra amount as part of the streamlining process.

Of the North East councils, North Tyneside is proposing an 8.12% hike, Northumberland a rise of 7.36%, Newcastle a 7.2% increase, in Gateshead a hike of 6.8% is expected, and Durham a 6.8% rise. South Tyneside council said it had not yet arrived at a draft increase.

The Government says many tenants will not have to fund the rise because they receive housing benefit. …

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