Council rent rises cut by half in Welwyn Hatfield
GOOD news if you are a council house tenant…bad news though if you happen to be a taxpayer. Last week housing minister Margaret Beckett announced the Government would be funding local councils in order to cut proposed council rent hikes by half. The incre
GOOD news if you are a council house tenant...bad news though if you happen to be a taxpayer.
Last week housing minister Margaret Beckett announced the Government would be funding local councils in order to cut proposed council rent hikes by half.
The increase, which will come into effect on April 1, will now only rise by an average of 3.1 per cent - meaning tenants will pay about �2 a week extra.
But the sudden decrease has meant Welwyn Hatfield Council will have to write to every council tenant in the borough to inform them of the change - to the tune of �50,000 of taxpayers' money.
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Council leader John Dean said: "We welcome it [news of the lower rent increase], but unless we get compensation from the Government it's going to cost the taxpayer.
"The problem is now we've got to write to all the tenants about the change. That will cost the council �50,000 to administer."
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The council's housing director John Briggs also warned the lower increases would probably not be in place in time for April.
The council already agreed back in January that it was increasing council rents by 6.7 per cent.
Mr Briggs said: "We are very pleased this last-minute announcement gives us the opportunity to lower the rate of council housing rent increases.
"However, before implementing any changes we must have the detailed information from central government.
"Until we receive this we cannot calculate nor tell anyone the effect on their rents."
He said: "Revised rental statements for the year have already been circulated to our council housing tenants.
"Until they receive any information to the contrary tenants are advised to pay the increased rent as already advised.
"If there are subsequent variations, tenants' accounts will be adjusted with any difference once the new rents have been agreed.