Salix Homes a subsidiary of Salford City Council has announced that all Council House tenants in the city will have their rents increased by well over 7% for the year 2012/2013.
In very tough economic times for everyone this is a scandal.
Salford Council and housing associations like City West Housing Trust hide behind the fact that they blame government saying its government policy.
Policy is not law. No housing provider has to put up rents and in fact are able to reduce them. Yes some subsidies may be lost or efficiencies have to be made but in order to keep rents down is this not the right thing to do ? I think so.
My immediate thoughts are for the tenants down on the Poets Estate in Swinton who where made promises by Salford Council that work would start on the estate in 2011 to bring homes there up to The Decent Homes Standard, which is government policy, this has been put back and the promises made broken but yet when it comes to rent increases they hide behind government policy.
So many residents including the working poor will be faced with significantly higher rent bills soon yet no-one would disagree their homes are not even up to a decent standard as we would expect in 2012.
And what about for the taxpayer ? High rents hits everyone as we all pay taxes. About 5% oh Housing Benefit paid comes from local taxpayers through Council Tax and about 95% from central government from everyday taxation. So having high rents not only affects the financial well-being of tenants and their families but to all taxpayers too.
As a former elected member and leading my group on housing issues, my profession in housing and as a former unpaid director of a housing association I can tell you that what Salford City Council are doing and the main housing providers is trying to pass on the blame from them to the government. I am not a government supporter but I am not going to sit here and pretend they are to blame when I know they are not.
Salford City Council has the power to reduce rents and so do housing associations. They choose not to and in fact have clearly chosen to rip us all off in the process and that includes every single taxpayer in the city.
This massive increase is not acceptable for many reasons. Its a scandal and am so sorry that I am not yet on Salford Council to try and do something about it.