Anger over increase in social housing rent hike in Welwyn Hatfield

Welwyn Hatfield Council's Campus East headquarters

Welwyn Hatfield Council's Campus East headquarters - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Hatfield’s housing chief has deflected criticism of social housing rents, which are being increased by well over inflation.

According to the St Albans, Welwyn and Hatfield Trades Council branch, the 2015/16 borough council budget increases rents by 5.7 per cent, when inflation is running at just one per cent.

Branch president Bob Wilson told the Welwyn Hatfield Times council tenants were usually in low paid jobs, and very few would be receiving wage increases of this scale.

But describing the rise as “an average of around five and a half per cent”, the authority said it was less than last year, and reflected central Government rule changes.

Cabinet member for housing and community Roger Trigg said: “We recognise that times are difficult for many tenants at present, and in making this increase we have had to balance that understanding with the financial challenges we face.

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“We have set our rent increase at a fair level to enable us to continue to deliver key services, including repairs and maintenance to homes and meeting local people’s housing needs.

“We would encourage anyone to get in touch if they are struggling to make ends meet. There is a wide range of support available to residents and we will always look at cases on their individual merits.”

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The average charge for a two-bedroom council home in Welwyn Hatfield is about £106 per week, compared with £229 per week for privately-owned rental.

For a full report on Welwyn Hatfield Council’s budget, see the Welwyn Hatfield Times print edition, on sale now

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