Council housing rents set to rise by maximum allowed
Ted Peskett Local Democracy Reporter
Council housing rents are set to rise to the maximum amount allowed by the Welsh Government, at a time when the rising cost of living continues to hit families across the country.
Vale of Glamorgan Council has published a report showing that they propose to increase their social housing rent by 6.7% in 2024/25.
The council said it uses rental income to invest in its existing housing stock and the development of further homes.
The proposed rental increase comes at a time when many tenants are already feeling stretched, however a number of pledges have been proposed in mitigation, like a commitment not to evict tenants facing financial hardship during the next financial year if they engage with their landlords.
Vale of Glamorgan Council’s report states: “The Council is acutely aware of the financial challenges that our tenants are experiencing currently and decisions regarding rent increases are carefully considered to ensure Council Housing rents remain affordable.”
An analysis of the condition of council homes in the county suggests that an additional £50m will need to be invested over the next 10 years to bring them to Welsh Government housing quality standards.
Vale of Glamorgan, like other areas of the UK, is also facing a high level of demand for housing.
This year, the council had 220 new homes under construction across six sites, from Penarth to Llantwit Major.
These are scheduled for completion during the end of this year and into 2024/25.
However, there are 6,000 households on the housing waiting list and more than 300 homeless people living in temporary accomodation.
Similar to other local authorities across the country, Vale of Glamorgan Council is faced with the reality of having to make a number of difficult financial decisions next year.
Leader of the council, Cllr Lis Burnett, said the Welsh Government’s provisional settlement puts the local authority in “an incredibly difficult position” and it is estimated that the council will be left to bridge a £9.4m budget gap.
It will look to achieve this through a range of measures including charges for some non-statutory services and changes to council tax.
In July, the council forecast its budget gap for 2024/25 to be £6.4m. This foretasted figure stood at £10.57m in November. It was modelled on a 4.9% council tax increase.
All budget proposals for 2024/25, which are yet to be published by the council, will go through a public consultation process in the new year.
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