Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet is set to approve a 3.1% rent increase for council tenants at its meeting on 8 March 2010 in accordance with the government’s national rent policy.
Council tenants will now have to pay an additional £2.10 over 48 weeks in 2010/11, although they will be exempt from paying rent for 4 weeks if they keep up with payments, as part of the rent payment holidays that the council first introduced in 2008.
The rent charges, which will be implemented from 4 October 2010, are set in line with the national formula that includes inflation and an allowance for rent convergence. This reflects government policy introduced in April 2002 to bring local authority and housing association rents in line with each other.
Cllr John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing said, “The government continues to force local authorities to increase rents in a difficult economic time.
“Birmingham kept its council tax at just 1.9% for the fifth year running in recognition of the tough economic times our citizens face, yet the government is imposing the rent increases and it’s simply not fair on our tenants.
“Unfortunately, the income from this rent increase will not be retained by tenants, but will be repaid back to the government through the subsidy system.
“This has also happened over the past 2 years and tenants now pay 27p in every pound of rent back to government.
“I am determined to secure changes to the current unfair financial system for council housing and will continue to lobby for these changes.
“The achievement of the government’s national rent convergence policy by 2012/13 is also now uncertain as the government has admitted there is no fixed date for achieving this.
“I will continue to ensure that tenants of Birmingham receive value for money for their services and am committed to increasing the quality of services that tenants receive”.
Cabinet will also approve modest increases for other service charges mainly to cover cost pressures.
Notes to editors
1. The Council is required by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (section 74) to keep a Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which records all revenue expenditure and income that relates to the provision of council dwellings and related services. The use of this account is heavily prescribed by statute and the council is not allowed to fund any expenditure for non-housing related services from this account.
2. Rent payment holidays will be for four weeks over 2010/11. This includes two weeks during December 2010 and another 2 weeks during March 2011.
Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969
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