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Ipswich: Council house rents set for inflation-busting increase

09:00 17 January 2014

John Mowles

John Mowles

Archant

Council house rents in Ipswich are set to rise by almost three times the current inflation rate, the Star can reveal today.

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The Labour-run borough’s executive will next week be urged to impose a 5.5% rise in council rents. The current inflation rate is 2%.

The rents are due to go up in line with a formula recommended by the government – although authorities are free to increase them, freeze them, or even reduce them as much as they like.

Ipswich council portfolio holder for housing John Mowles said the increase was being recommended to enable the council’s finances to remain in good order.

And it would also allow the authority to invest in more social housing – it was revealed this week that the borough is hoping to build a further 300 council homes over the next three years.

Only about a third of the council’s 8,200 tenants pay full rents – the remainder get some or all of their rent paid by housing benefit.

Mr Mowles said: “We do need to propose this increase to ensure that we are able to manage our housing stock in good order.

“It will allow us to continue our programme of building more homes which will, of course, bring in more income in the future – and new homes tend to need less maintenance than older stock.”

The government had recommended that local authorities should charge tenants 80% of commercial rents.

Mr Mowles said: “If we had taken that advice, we would be putting up rents by 20%. This will work out at about £4.40 a week for the average tenant.”

Brian Laffling is the independent chair of the tenants’ scrutiny committee, and said the proposed increase was “very disappointing.”

He said: “It is more than we would have liked – but we thought the rise would be quite large.

“They are talking about possibly freezing council tax bills, so I suppose they have to get the money from somewhere and it is the tenants who will have to pay more – or at least those who pay full rents.”

Ipswich Tory MP Ben Gummer said the decision to rise rents was purely a matter for the council – the government put no pressure on it to set a particular level of rent.

He said: “What you are seeing here is the working poor having to pay more in council rents. Those on benefits will not be affected because their rents will be paid anyway, but those who are earning will be facing a significant rent rise.”

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15 comments

  • Not everyone who lives in a council house is poor.l know some who have good jobs and have plenty of money.

    Report this comment

    gavalie

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

  • Not everyone who lives in a council house is poor.l know some who have good jobs and have plenty of money.

    Report this comment

    gavalie

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

  • One minute the government are trying to tell us the economy is now recovering ?, next the local council has to rise the rents above inflation to make up for the funding shortfall from Central Government ?? Just who is trying to fool who ???

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Housing Benefit isn't free money from a magic source- taxpayers pay this- so taxpayers and the third who pay full rent are facing this rise. Many many many more than Mr Mowels would have us believe!

    Report this comment

    K Mcc

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Of course people carry on paying their rent. When I had a mortgage I paid 9% interest. I know many people who had a Council house and when went on benefits. The Council should not have anything to do with social housing but it should be in the private sector. Gordon Brown boasted he had created 1 million jobs but they were all in the public sector.

    Report this comment

    m01

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • that is the trouble with a lot of people they think that everyone who rent there property are on benefits.in my young days national service took away the best two years of your lives , some were lucky to learn a trade to get a good job and buy a house .i have said before a lot only bought because they could not get a council house.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • people who live in rented accommodation council or private and pay full rent are the ones who subsidise rents of all accommodations we carry on paying rent long after people have paid for there homes.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Yes and who bought them not labour voters ,they would not have done would they then sold them on a a huge profit

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

  • If the Council didn't waste money there would not be a shortfall. Why do the people who have worked hard and bought our homes have to subsidise social housing.

    Report this comment

    m01

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Not everyone who lives in a council house is poor.l know some who have good jobs and have plenty of money.

    Report this comment

    gavalie

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

  • Council rents will still be a lot cheaper that private landlord rents. I pay a lot more for my rented home than council tenants pay for theirs. That's what is not fair.

    Report this comment

    N M

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Just politics those who voted labour and I would think most in council houses did got what you voted for same will happen if labour are returned to the goverment

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    pandy

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • pandy [ who sold the council houses off ?] [ THATCHER]

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

  • Only a third pay full rent and I'm in that third so penalise the people who actually work and pay their rent and keep paying with our tax the other 2 thirds that doesn't seem right somehow but as always in this country everything is back to front

    Report this comment

    Megahman

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Not everyone who lives in a council house is poor.l know some who have good jobs and have plenty of money.

    Report this comment

    gavalie

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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