Conservative Councilors today called on the LibDem-run Council to freeze all council house rents to protect the vulnerable from the economic fall-out from the pandemic.
The LibDem Council voted for an over-inflation rent increase for council tenants on the 11th February 2021. This decision was taken before the Council decided, on Tuesday night, to recommend an eye-watering 5% Council Tax hike.
On top of Council Tax increase of 5% tenants will need to find a further 1.2% increase in rents, even though the Kingston Council Housing Revenue account has millions of pounds in reserve, Shockingly, Kingston Council hasn’t even completed the borough’s council housing stock condition surveys, so they are hiking rents without good reason.
Private sector rents in Kingston fell by 4.5% last year, according to a report by the Landlords Guild and published in their Lettings Market Digest dated January 2021. https://www.landlordsguild.com/lettings-market-rent-digest-january-2021/
Cllr Nicola Sheppard, Conservative Housing Spokesman, said:
“Kingston Council tenants are being hit with a double-whammy tax hike by the LibDems, at a time when people are struggling financially due to the Covid lockdown. Private sector rents are falling and inflation is low, so there really is no excuse for an inflation-busting rent increase at this time.
“The LibDem double-whammy rent and Council Tax hike means that the lowest paid in the borough will shoulder the biggest burden during these tough financial times. Let’s freeze their rents for one year. It’s a relatively small amount, but it will make a big difference to many residents.”.
Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of the Conservative opposition said:
“We hoped we could convince the LibDems not to shove up Council Tax by the maximum 5% but that plea appears to have fallen on deaf ears. We know the next year will be an economically difficult one for all Council Tax payers but especially those on low incomes. We need to do something to support our residents, not just slap them with higher bills.”