Rent costs rise at THREE times rate of monthly salary
PUBLISHED: 05:30 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:38 14 June 2019
Shocking new data has revealed Suffolk salaries are being stretched ever thinner by sky-high rent prices.
The figures, compiled by GMB using Valuation Office Agency and Office of National Statistics data, show the average rent price for a two bedroom flat in Suffolk rose by 22% between 2011 and 2018, while monthly salaries crept up by just 8%.
This means rent costs have increased at more than three times the rate of average earnings.
Among the most shocking discrepancies is in Mid Suffolk, where rent prices have soared by 27.5%, compared with a salary increase of 3.4%.
Meanwhile, in Waveney average monthly earnings have decreased by 0.5%, while rent costs have continued to rise at a rate of 10.5%.
The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government did not respond to a request for comment.
'The prices are ridiculous'
Ipswich tenant Kirk Carruthers, a father-of-two, struggles to support his children faced with rising rent and static wages.
Mr Carruthers, who lives on Cemetery Road and works as an administrator for an aboricultral company, said: "I have two kids now who should really have separate rooms. God knows how I'm going to afford that.
"Rent prices and house prices are ridiculous in Ipswich.
"Unfortunately not all of us are on London wages like estate agents seem to think.
"By the time I get a deposit together for a mortgage I'll be too old to pay for it."
Mr Carruthers said he has looked outside of the Ipswich area, in places like Needham Market and Great Blakenham, but claims they are just as "ridiculously priced".
He said he is tempted to move back to Lancashire, where the house prices there are "so much cheaper".
"I'd probably be in a three bedroom house by now up there," he added.
'High rents are here to stay'
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Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary, blamed the problem on "policy mistakes" and "Tory dogma".
"Council homes for rents at reasonable levels were aimed at housing the families of workers in the lower pay grades, and did it successfully for generations," he said.
"These were sold off - but crucially not replaced as a matter of Tory dogma.
"The chickens are now coming home to roost on these policy mistakes. Dogmatic opposition to allowing councils to build homes for rent is a luxury we can't afford."
He added: "These high rents are here to stay. So too are younger workers living for longer in private sector rental accommodation.
"As a direct consequence, employers must be prepared to pay much higher wages to staff to enable them to afford these much higher rents.
"If employers don't respond with higher pay they will face staff shortages as workers, especially younger people, are priced out of housing market.
"It makes little sense for these workers to spend a full week at work only to pay most of their earnings in rents."
What is the situation in Essex?
The cost of renting in north Essex has also risen at an alarming rate when compared to the average workers' salary.
Between 2011 and 2018, rent prices increased by roughly 20%, while monthly earnings rose by just over 9%.
In the district of Maldon, the cost of rent has rocketed by 22.3%, despite the fact the average worker's salary has declined by 1.1%.
Meanwhile, in Colchester rent prices have risen by 20.8%, compared with a 13.3% increase in average monthly earnings.
How was the data calculated?
The figures account for privately rented self-contained properties with two bedrooms including houses, bungalows, flats and maisonettes. Housing benefit claimants are not included.
Monthly data is calculated from gross median annual pay for all full-time employees by place of residence.
The average rent and salary increase for Suffolk excludes figures for Forest Heath, as a complete data set was unavailable.