Monday, 21 January 2013

Below inflation rent increase for Reading council tenants #rdg

Earlier this evening I asked cabinet to recommend the minimum increase that was consistent with a sustainable business plan.  Wage freezes and job insecurity is still normal for many of us and the welfare reform bill is going to cause further difficulty for many families and working people.  A slightly below inflation increase will help secure the future of our housing stock while adding the minimum amount of pressure to people's pockets. 
It's a tough line to walk as it's important to protect the housing stock for future generations (literally - our current business plan is 30 years long!) but at the same time the welfare reform bill, the economic crisis and wage freezes mean that many people's finances are under real pressure.

Cabinet agreed and we have recommended a 3% rise to be approved by council next week.  On average this means a £2.98 per week increase.




This year’s 3% increase is below the retail price index (RPI) which currently stands at 3.1%.

The Council consulted with the tenant’s Joint Consultative Committee about the proposed rent increases for 2013/2014 who understood the need for an increase.

There is also good news in what we are spending the funds on - communities benefit from 10% increase in the Decent Neighbourhood Fund, which supports community improvement projects.  This rents increase will see community projects funded through the Decent Neighbourhood Fund extended, enabling the council to make investments in responsive repairs and will help to increase access to debt and financial advice to tenants to meet increased demand for this service.