Sheffield tenants face 6.2pc rent rise

General view of Wybourn estate taken from Manor Lane 25/5/13
General view of Wybourn estate taken from Manor Lane 25/5/13

Sheffield council house rents are to rise from April by 6.2 per cent – almost three times the current rate of inflation.

The increase will mean an average weekly rise of £4.31 a week and will be coupled with a hike in community heating service charges of three per cent.

Also going up by 6.2 per cent are garage rents.

Councillors say they have had to act in line with Government social rent policies, and say their hands are tied.

But that argument was rejected by tenants’ representatives who predicted many working families would struggle to find the money.

Winnie Smith, committee member of the Arbourthorne Tenants and Residents Association, said she was astonished by the decision.

“I think it is disgusting, I don’t know how they can do that – and I don’t believe it is all down to Government regulations,” she said.

“People will find it hard to pay, and they are getting so despondent because there is nothing they can do.

“And at the same time money is being wasted on so many things.

“We expect rents to go up by some extent each year, but not by this much, and it’s ordinary working people who will be hit hardest,” Mrs Smith added.

Stephen Rich, of the Greenhill and Bradway Tenants and Residents Association, said an inflation-busting rise was bad news for the new year.

“The council keeps blaming the Government for everything and I don’t think that’s right. Surely they can subsidise some of this increase, as there’s too much being wasted on other things,” he said.

“I know people who will struggle to pay these rises - there is only so much meat on the bone and now people are being cut right down to the bone.”

Coun Harry Harpham, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “Rent increases continue to be dictated by Government, but we do realise that budgets are tight at the moment. We have kept charges down wherever possible to ease the burden.”