Council calls for increased power to set tenant's rent

Westminster Council has called on the government to give it greater powers to set rents for its tenants.

The London Tory-run council said more than 2,200 of its social housing tenants earn more than £50,000 a year.

The amount of rent a council can charge to their tenants is currently set by central government.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said: "We have no plans to change the rents and tenures of existing tenants."

"But we are to give councils more local flexibility on tenures on new tenants in due course, so that council housing can be allocated to those in need," she added.

'One-size fits'

Meanwhile, Westminster council said it had around 200 social housing tenants who earned more than £100,000 a year.

Westminster Council's Tory cabinet member for strategic finance Philippa Roe said: "We believe the overall system should be changed and that councils should have greater freedoms to set rents.

"At the moment we have a one-size fits all system which does not take into account any change in circumstances."

But Westminster Council's Labour group leader Paul Dimoldenberg argued that giving the council more power to set rents would discourage those who lived in council homes from striving to earn higher wages.

"Westminster Conservatives are more concerned with increasing the council's revenues than building successful and thriving local communities," he said

"Putting up rents is just another way for the Conservatives to increase taxes for middle earners and will push many hard working residents out of Westminster."

In February, Tory Housing Minister Grant Shapps announced plans to give councils greater control over allocating their social homes.

However, existing tenants would not see their rights or rents affected by these proposals.

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