Coventry & Warwickshire

Rugby Borough Council to increase rents

Council house tenants in Warwickshire are set to see their rents increase to help cover the cost of the council buying back its housing stock.

Rugby Borough Council, which has about 4,000 homes, is having to make a one-off payment of more than £73m to the government to own its housing.

The council said it had been given little alternative due to the recent Localism Bill.

It said in future it would get to keep all rental income from its housing.

Councillor Leigh Hunt said that would be "reinvested for the benefit of the people of Rugby".

She said: "We'll continue to maintain and improve our housing stock and where possible we're going to build new council houses."

'No choice'

Ray Ralton, of Rounds Garden, said he currently paid about £326 per month for his council accommodation and was worried about future increases.

He said: "We're all being asked to be prudent but the electricity's gone up astronomically.

"The food's gone up and the way things are going up I don't know how we shall manage."

Eileen Short, chair of the Defend Council Housing group, said she believed the council had been offered little option but to increase the rent.

Ms Short said: "There's all this talk about local control and localism but actually councils have no choice over this and the government's bumping up the debt so they're giving councils a share of £30bn worth of debt.

"Council housing is going to be set up to fail to some extent because this settlement underfunds councils so there won't be enough to pay for the management and maintenance.

"That's why you've got Rugby saying they're going to shove up the rents."

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