The battle against huge council rent hikes has stepped up a pace as Hounslow Council bosses joined forces with leaders from other boroughs to call for a government rethink.
Hounslow Homes tenants face an inflation-busting 6.95 per cent rise in their rates from April.
Housing chiefs want to give hard-up residents a break by imposing a lower increase but say their hands are tied because the figure is calculated centrally.
They have teamed up with bosses at seven other London councils, including neighbouring Hillingdon, to pen an angry letter to housing minister Margaret Beckett.
"We work tirelessly to provide the best possible value for money services, but if these rent increases do go ahead they will have a negative impact on our most vulnerable residents, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet during the recession," they wrote.
"Taking into account this very tough economic climate, we are urging the government to take a more reasoned approach and to keep any rent rise to an absolute minimum."
The Department of Communities and Local Government, which sets the rates, has previously rejected calls to allow councils greater flexibility.
It claims allowing some councils to set lower rents would unfairly affect tenants in other parts of the country because the money raised goes into a central pot.
Hounslow Council has promised to invest £4 million to ease the burden on tenants by improving their estates and providing better benefits advice.