Proposed rise in council housing rent to be considered

Ipswich Citizens Advice has urged people not to ignore rent and council tax payments after using doo

The proposed 4% increase in council house rents would come into place from April 2022 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

An increase in council house rents could be on the way, with a report recommending a 4% rise to be presented to Ipswich Borough Council next week. 

The report to the executive committee, which meets on January 11, recommends that the council approve a rise to council housing rents in line with the government guideline rent increase. 

A rise of 4% would put the forecast average social housing rent for the 2022/23 financial year at £87.14 per week. 

This is much lower than the average weekly rent cap, which in 2022/23 would be £178.61 per week. 

As of November 2021, the average council tenant rent per week was £83.71 while private renters paid an average of £223. 

The proposal would come into place from April 4, 2022. 

The option of increasing council rent by less than the government recommendation has been considered but is not recommended by the report, which states that the 4% rise would "allow the council to maintain the Ipswich Standard, support the de-carbonisation programme for council homes and deliver the new build programme". 

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It is also noted that the annual rent increase will support the housing strategy in building houses, improving the quality of existing housing and meeting the needs of the community and aging population. 

Jools Ramsey, chief executive of Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG). Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Jools Ramsey, chief executive of Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG). Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

But Jools Ramsey, chief executive of Ipswich Housing Action Group, said: "People contacting ihAg for support with their finances are describing a number of significant changes which have already put pressure on their monthly income -- increase in fuel costs, increase in food costs, increase in energy costs, struggles to pay credit card bills and "pay now pay later" finance, and the possibility of mortgage rate increases. 

"From April, there is also the likelihood of increased council tax bills. 

"The risk of increased rent will add yet more pressure on individuals and families who are already struggling to meet all of their financial commitments, and are having to make tough decisions on how best to prioritise their money. 

"I'm concerned that this will inevitably lead to people struggling with higher levels of debt, reliance on food banks, and ultimately facing the risk of losing their home. 

"I would strongly urge anyone struggling with their finances to contact a money advice service, like ihAg's, to get free confidential advice and support."

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