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Waveney council rent increases cut

PUBLISHED: 07:46 25 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:12 06 July 2010

Thousands of council house tenants in Waveney have received a boost after district councillors voted unanimously to cut the proposed increase in their rents in the face of the economic recession.

Thousands of council house tenants in Waveney have received a boost after district councillors voted unanimously to cut the proposed increase in their rents in the face of the economic recession.

An earlier decision to impose a 5.6pc rise has now been overturned and tenants in Waveney District Council's 4,000 homes will instead pay 2.5pc more - an average of about £100 less over the year than the initial increase.

Local councils have been advised by the government to keep rents as low as possible because of the credit crunch and Waveney councillors voted to act at a meeting on Thursday, although it could cost the authority up to £65,000.

The total reduction in rent collected across the district would be in the region of £400,000, but because of reductions to the subsidies paid by Waveney to the government, the net loss to the authority is estimated at £55,000.

The Tory-led council is hoping this will be reimbursed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), but has revealed it will also have to find £10,000 to cover administration costs for carrying out changes to the rents.

Opposition Labour group leader Malcolm Cherry supported the reduction in the rent increase, but questioned if the council could cover these costs, given that it is facing a potential £13.2m budget deficit.

Council leader Mark Bee said, if the council was unable to recoup the £55,000 from the DCLG, the money would come from its housing reven-ue account, which has balances of more than £5m. The £10,000 would come from the authority's general funds.

He added: "There is absolutely no concern about whether this council will have the funding. What we are doing is enforcing something that has been suggested to us to make sure our tenants don't have to pay a higher increase in rents because of the economic situation."

Bruce Provan, the council's port-folio holder for housing, said: "I feel it is a good thing. There is no guarantee we will be reimbursed by the DCLG… but that won't stop me voting for the decrease."

Lib Dem group leader Andrew Shepherd said: "We welcome this very much indeed and it will be a great help to a number of people."

The average council house rent is now £60.29 per week.

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