"We have kept our rental rise low for tenants": Southend councillors intervened to keep increase low

Echo: Keeping rent low – Lib Dem leader Graham Longley outside Cecil Court, in Prittlewell Keeping rent low – Lib Dem leader Graham Longley outside Cecil Court, in Prittlewell

THE cost of renting a council property in Southend is set to rise by £4.54 a week after opposition councillors intervened to keep the increase low.

Senior Tory councillors are expected to agree to raise the average weekly rent for council tenants of £78.85 by 5.76 per cent tomorrow after the Liberal Democrats and Labour called for the rise to be as low as possible.

The council was considering a rise of between £4.32 and £7.08 from April 7 as the Government has demanded it brings council rent in line with housing associations and private landlords, known as converging.

Finance officers have recommended the lower rise, which was proposed by Lib Dem members of the cross-party policy and resources scrutiny committee and supported by Labour, last month after new information from the Government showed the authority could still converge rents within four years.

Council leader Nigel Holdcroft said: “This recommendation reflects the discussion at scrutiny where members were concerned about the effect on residents of a higher rent increase.

“The majority view was that while we should not necessarily prejudice our ability to achieve convergence, we should use the full period potentially available to reduce the burden on tenants.”

Lib Dem leader Graham Longley said: “We were keen to see housing tenants had the lowest possible increase and we are delighted the administration looks like it is going to accept that proposal.

“As a group, the Lib Dems put forward the proposal and we are pleased the increase is at the lowest recommended level.”

Of the council’s 5,904 tenants, just over half – 3,171 – have their total rent covered by housing benefit.

However, the other 2,733 will face higher bills. Tenants are likely to face rises well-above inflation until at least 2019, as the council could face a £22.7million black hole in its finances unless it brings its rent in line with housing associations.

Rose Chapman, who already pays £99.10 a week for her flat in council tower block Quantock, in Chichester Road, believes the hike is still too high.

The 81-year-old said: “I can’t do much about it.

“We are paying for the other people who don’t pay rent – all the people who are lodging here without paying. They should chase them out and fine them.”

Labour leader Ian Gilbert added: “I’m pleased it’s at the low end of the rises. I’ve always said we want the smallest increase practical.”

Independent chairman of the policy and resources scrutiny committee, Ron Woodley, who favoured a higher rise if necessary to meet the funding gap, said: “It’s a good compromise and I think that’s OK.”

Comments (8)

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4:40pm Thu 13 Feb 14

jolllyboy says...

Rents up 4-7£, well above inflation, housing benefit only up 1%, low income still have to pay 25% council tax. I dont know how the low income (nearly 3,000) people will manage. As for bringing rents into line with housing assn rents these people are in social housing because they cant afford other rents. Of course they could move to an expensive property and claim more housing benefit and then tax payer would have to cough up more. I think it is a question of put it on someone elses budge or else they just dont care - but that's the tories for you..
Rents up 4-7£, well above inflation, housing benefit only up 1%, low income still have to pay 25% council tax. I dont know how the low income (nearly 3,000) people will manage. As for bringing rents into line with housing assn rents these people are in social housing because they cant afford other rents. Of course they could move to an expensive property and claim more housing benefit and then tax payer would have to cough up more. I think it is a question of put it on someone elses budge or else they just dont care - but that's the tories for you.. jolllyboy
  • Score: 0

6:10pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Living the La Vida Legra says...

Tough luck spongers
Tough luck spongers Living the La Vida Legra
  • Score: -2

7:16pm Thu 13 Feb 14

whateverhappened says...

jolllyboy wrote:
Rents up 4-7£, well above inflation, housing benefit only up 1%, low income still have to pay 25% council tax. I dont know how the low income (nearly 3,000) people will manage. As for bringing rents into line with housing assn rents these people are in social housing because they cant afford other rents. Of course they could move to an expensive property and claim more housing benefit and then tax payer would have to cough up more. I think it is a question of put it on someone elses budge or else they just dont care - but that's the tories for you..
You do not have to be hard up to live in a council house, thats part of the housing problem. look at bob crow.
[quote][p][bold]jolllyboy[/bold] wrote: Rents up 4-7£, well above inflation, housing benefit only up 1%, low income still have to pay 25% council tax. I dont know how the low income (nearly 3,000) people will manage. As for bringing rents into line with housing assn rents these people are in social housing because they cant afford other rents. Of course they could move to an expensive property and claim more housing benefit and then tax payer would have to cough up more. I think it is a question of put it on someone elses budge or else they just dont care - but that's the tories for you..[/p][/quote]You do not have to be hard up to live in a council house, thats part of the housing problem. look at bob crow. whateverhappened
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Thu 13 Feb 14

the25man says...

So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.
So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out. the25man
  • Score: -1

8:24pm Thu 13 Feb 14

ThisYear says...

the25man wrote:
So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.
We all pay taxes...including those in council housing.

You would like out of work tenants to do community work...thereby causing those who's work they take to perhaps become redundant and maybe going onto benefits..thereby perhaps ending up doing the job they did, for benefits instead of wages? Hmm..needs a bit of rethinking methinks!

If you feel those who dont work, dont give much in the way of finance to society, then what about those who pay only a little tax?

Perhaps self-employed people could also finish work and then do a bit of community work...those on minimum wage who dont pay much in the way of tax, should also work a full day and perhaps carry out night time community work...perhaps you do not pay as much tax as I and others do, and so we could feel you need to be doing something in the way of community work after your day job..what do you think?
[quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.[/p][/quote]We all pay taxes...including those in council housing. You would like out of work tenants to do community work...thereby causing those who's work they take to perhaps become redundant and maybe going onto benefits..thereby perhaps ending up doing the job they did, for benefits instead of wages? Hmm..needs a bit of rethinking methinks! If you feel those who dont work, dont give much in the way of finance to society, then what about those who pay only a little tax? Perhaps self-employed people could also finish work and then do a bit of community work...those on minimum wage who dont pay much in the way of tax, should also work a full day and perhaps carry out night time community work...perhaps you do not pay as much tax as I and others do, and so we could feel you need to be doing something in the way of community work after your day job..what do you think? ThisYear
  • Score: -2

3:17am Fri 14 Feb 14

emcee says...

the25man wrote:
So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.
The amount of hb that council tenants claim probably pales into insignificance compaired to the amount private tenants claim. If more council houses were made available and private tenants were housed in council properties then councils would probably save a small fortune.

However, it is very unlikely that a significant amount of extra social housing will ever get built so a cap on the rent that the rip-off private landlords charge their tenants is the obvious way to go. Not only would this result in councils paying less hb but all the private tenants, regardless of income, would be be better off. Now, that would be a boost to the economy.
[quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.[/p][/quote]The amount of hb that council tenants claim probably pales into insignificance compaired to the amount private tenants claim. If more council houses were made available and private tenants were housed in council properties then councils would probably save a small fortune. However, it is very unlikely that a significant amount of extra social housing will ever get built so a cap on the rent that the rip-off private landlords charge their tenants is the obvious way to go. Not only would this result in councils paying less hb but all the private tenants, regardless of income, would be be better off. Now, that would be a boost to the economy. emcee
  • Score: 5

8:40am Fri 14 Feb 14

Happy Chickie says...

the25man wrote:
So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.
I agree with you. I imagine doing nothing all day would be boring and mind numbing.

Nothing wrong with doing a little physical work in return for what the taxpayers gives you whether they want to or not.
[quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.[/p][/quote]I agree with you. I imagine doing nothing all day would be boring and mind numbing. Nothing wrong with doing a little physical work in return for what the taxpayers gives you whether they want to or not. Happy Chickie
  • Score: -3

5:48pm Fri 14 Feb 14

ThisYear says...

Happy Chickie wrote:
the25man wrote:
So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.
I agree with you. I imagine doing nothing all day would be boring and mind numbing.

Nothing wrong with doing a little physical work in return for what the taxpayers gives you whether they want to or not.
People who are not employed are taxpayers too.
[quote][p][bold]Happy Chickie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: So from this article those of us that pay our taxes are helping pay for more than half of the Council Housing tenants. Why cant we get out of work tenants on benefits to do something for society like cleaning the tower block stairwells or the like. OK not all are either able or in a position to do such work but there would be other works that they could carry out.[/p][/quote]I agree with you. I imagine doing nothing all day would be boring and mind numbing. Nothing wrong with doing a little physical work in return for what the taxpayers gives you whether they want to or not.[/p][/quote]People who are not employed are taxpayers too. ThisYear
  • Score: 2

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