Leicester West CLP has passed a resolution calling for a rent freeze. Two branches sent the resolution in. The government has now set the maximum social housing rent increase at 7%. Council or housing association landlords cannot set the rent increase above 7% but they have discretion to set it lower. Given the fact that even 7% is 3.1% below September’s inflation figure not many landlords are likely to set the increase below 5%. Swindon’s Tory council is proposing 5%.
As the Leicester West resolution says “such a freeze must be paid for by central government, as spending on our housing stock should not be allowed to suffer even further”. Council housing revenue accounts in particular are under-funded and inflation is eating further into their stretched resources.
“This CLP believes that the next rise in council rents must not follow the formula for last April’s (i.e. CPI+1%), as this would inflict hardship on many tenants. Even the government has had to concede this, and is now consulting with local authorities on whether rents should go up possibly by 7%. We are also concerned that the government suggests any council property unlet on the day of the next rise should still have its rent increased by CPI+1%.
Given price inflation generally, eg food and energy bills, we should insist on a rent freeze, just as Labour has called for in energy prices. However, such a freeze must be paid for by central government, as spending on our housing stock should not be allowed to suffer even further.”
There is a coalition of organisations calling for a rent freeze which we will report on separately.