Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Beckett cuts planned council rent increases in half

Beckett cuts planned council rent increases in half

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (044) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 6 March 2009

Housing Minister Margaret Beckett has today announced new support to help councils cut their planned rent increases for tenants in the current economic climate.

The average guideline rent increase for 2009/10 will be halved from 6.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent for local authority tenants, to encourage councils to reduce the amount tenants would have to pay for the coming year. Mrs Beckett announced that the Government would make funding available to support local authorities to make the changes, and revise their rents for 2009/10 accordingly.

The changes to the guideline rent increase means tenants should see a marked drop in their proposed average rent increase for the coming year from around £4 per week to approximately just under £2.

Mrs Beckett said:

"We are facing challenging economic times and it is right that this Government offers real help now to council tenants. We have listened to what councils and their tenants have said to us about the planned rent increases, and we are determined to help tenants get a fair and affordable deal.

"Ultimately, it is for each council to take up this offer of support, but I would expect them to ensure their tenants receive the full benefits." The Minister has already indicated that she will look again at the guideline rents for 2010-11 to ensure that council tenants continue to pay rents that are affordable and fair.

Notes to editors

1. The guideline rents increase for 09/10 was set in September at a time of much higher inflation but the new guidelines will override this and support tenants during the current economic uncertainty, whilst making sure that local authorities still have the money to carry out essential repairs and maintenance.

2. The Government is carrying out a wide-ranging review of the Housing Revenue Account led jointly by Communities and Local Government and the Treasury. The review is looking at how we can provide the best and most effective system for local authorities to maintain and manage their housing stock and will report to Ministers in the Spring, before going out to consultation.

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