Newham Mayor says Government ‘wrong’ to impose rent rises

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales has written to council housing tenants explaining why new Government policy means that their rents have to go up by an average of �7 per week now.

The Goverment’s own criteria makes the above inflation increase necessary because it wants to reform rents for council and housing association tenants so that all social rents are put on the same footing. They want both councils and housing associations to charge the same rent by linking them to property values.

It means Newham’s 15,000-plus tenants will pay an extra 7.8 per cent on average – a weekly increase of between �6.06 and �8.48 dependending on the size of the property. The council agreed the rise as part of its budget for the forthcoming financial year.

Sir Robin said: “In these tough financial times it is a significant increase for many people but it is set by national policy.

“I wrote to the Government and asked them to reconsider such a substantial increase and make it smaller this year. I was disappointed, though not surprised, that they rejected my request for a more reasonable rise.

“I believe they are wrong and do not understand the impact of their economic policies on hard working people in places such as Newham.”

He promised that the council would work hard to keep any financial pressures on residents to a minimum and make sure every penny counts when it comes to services.

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He said: “I will work hard with local people to help them build personal resilience and provide more opportunities and solutions for them to improve their circumstances.”