We have written to Minister of State for Housing and Planning Department for Communities and Local Government Margaret Beckett to highlight an area of great concern among many of our council tenants who are facing very steep rent rises because of the way the Government calculates the rent formula for local authorities.
From April, council tenants across London are set to see their rent increase between six per cent and nine per cent, which is at least double the rate of inflation.
This is because a formula set by the Government used the Retail Prices Index figure from September 2008, when it was at its peak but since then inflation rates have plummeted.
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.
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. We are calling on the Government to look again at the formula it uses to calculate rent to ensure a fairer system can be put in place next year.Councils are being forced to implement rent increases as the Government uses this as a basis to decide how much housing subsidy a local authority should receive.Every penny that is not raised will be taken off the money council's receive through the current funding system.
In the meantime,we would also welcome further Government assistance for our tenants to mitigate the impact of this rent increase.
COUNCILLOR BARRY MACLEOD- CULLINANE Harrow Council, portfolio holder for adults and housing
COUNCILLOR JAMES ALLIE
Brent Council Lead member for housing and customer services