HARD-PRESSED council tenants have been dealt another blow as Castle Point Council looks set to raise rents by £150 a year.

The authority is considering raising rents by an average of £2.91 a week, meaning on average residents will have to pay £85.28 a week from April 1, up from £82.37 last year.

It comes as the council is set to raise council tax by two per cent after freezing it for the past two years.

A survey conducted by South Essex Homes has revealed the council has a backlog of £2.3million of maintenance work it needs to complete to bring their housing stock up to scratch.

Over the next five years the authority will also have to spend a further £4.5million on repairs to make sure homes meet new decent homes standards – meaning a total bill of £6.8million.

Jeffrey Stanley, deputy leader of Castle Point Council, said: “The only source of money to pay for the upkeep of council houses comes from rents charged.

“Castle Point follows the government guidance in setting rent. That is why we are proposing a rise to £85.28 per week, still below the limit and formula rent, but moving in the direction that the government wants.

“We must have a plan to bring all our council houses up to a “Decent home Standard” . We used to have our own maintenance department, but feel that it would be more efficient to use a specialist contractor.

“As the housing revenue account is ring fenced, we think it the right thing to do to have small annual rises so that there is money to spend on improving the homes of the people that pay that rent.”

A final decision on the plans will be made at a special full council meeting at the council offices in Kiln Road, Thundersley on Wednesday.