Ipswich council house rent to rise 1.5% in April

Cllr Colin Kreidewolf outside the new Handford Homes development in Ipswich.
Credi: Sonya Duncan

New council homes on the site of the former Tooks Bakery in Ipswich - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Community leaders in Ipswich have approved a "modest" increase in council housing rents from the spring.

In Ipswich Borough Council's meeting on Wednesday evening, councillors discussed a prior recommendation to increase council house rent with the consumer price index plus 1% in line with government recommendations.

The overall rise would amount to 1.5% for 2021/22, starting from April.

Acording to the council's report, that will put the average rent up from £82.17 per week to £83.40 for council house homes.

Neil MacDonald, St John's ward councillor and the council's portfolio holder for housing, told the meeting the rise was needed to continue maintenance and improvements to the council housing stock.

Borough leader David Ellesmere and housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald at the new temporary acco

Neil MacDonald (right) with council leader David Ellesmere - Credit: Archant

However, he argued it would represent better value for money than private rents - citing the average cost of a one-bedroom home in Ipswich at £602 per month.

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In contrast, Mr MacDonald said equivalent council rents have a monthly cost of less than £300.

The meeting also heard that more than 10,000 repairs were carried out at council houses throughout the borough in the last year.

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There have also been 150 disability adaptations and 217 properties refurbished between tenancies, while 10 major bungalow conversions to suit disabled residents are set to be complete by March.

Families have recently begun moving into a series of 41 council homes on the site of the former Tooks Bakery in Ipswich.

Mr MacDonald told the meeting: "This is needed to invest in the housing stock and build more homes. These projects and works would not be possible without a financially sound revenue account.

"This does mean that rents and charges do have to go up by a modest amount within government guidelines to ensure the quality of service provided by the housing team continues."

Rushmere councillor Sandra Gage added: "Collectively, this increased revenue will help the council to continue to maintain its housing stock to the highest standards our tenants expect.

Labour's Sandra Gage wanted better funding for Citizens Advice

Councillor Sandra Gage said the rise would help the council maintain its housing stock - Credit: Archant

"Having a secure, warm and energy efficient home is even more important now.

"I believe the report's recommendations are proportionate, fair and uncontroversial."

No objections were raised to the proposal and the motion was passed unanimously.

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