Ipswich council rents to rise despite opposition

New council houses at Bader Close in Ipswich. Their rents are going up by 2.2% from April.

New council houses at Bader Close in Ipswich. Their rents are going up by 2.2% from April. - Credit: Archant

Council house rents in Ipswich are to go up by 2.2% – an average of £1.79 a week – from April after the increase was approved by the borough last night.

The Labour-controlled council is sticking to government guidelines and putting up rents by inflation (1.2%) plus 1% – but housing spokesman John Mowles said tenants were still getting a very good deal.

He said that the rise was the lowest for many years, and was considerably lower than that charged during the last year of the previous Conservative/LibDem administration that lost power in 2011.

Mr Mowles also said “affordable” council rents were considerably lower than those charged on the open market.

“We know that if we were to charge market rents we would put them up by 78% for our average homes. How do we know this? Because that’s what is being charged to rent an ex-council house that we were forced to sell under the right to buy laws and is now up for private rental.”

Opposition leader Nadia Cenci said the rise was unnecessary – and would hit those people who were struggling to make ends meet while working for a living.

Pointing out that those on housing benefit would have part or all of their rent paid, she said those who did not get help were paying for the council’s house-building programme.

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She was backed up by former Tory group leader John Carnall who said if the council was so keen to listen to government advice on council rents, it should also listen to the advice on council tax and freeze it at its meeting next month.

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