Croydon Council tenants hit with above-inflation rent increases
Tenants in council houses are to be hit with above-inflation rent hikes.
Croydon Council is to increase the average rent bill by 4.36 per cent from April in a move that critics say will hit the poorest hardest.
It comes after the government announced that Croydon would be one of four boroughs acting as a guinea pig to a cap on household benefits, with the introduction of bedroom tax and cuts to council tax benefit also looming.
Garage and parking space rental will also go up 4.36 per cent.
Councillor Alison Butler, shadow cabinet member for housing, warned tightening constraints on household budgets risked pushing more families into poverty.
She said: "As a whole package of things it really is concerning. People on low incomes - not just people on benefits - are really going to have to make decisions about what they can afford.
"There is a real concern about levels of poverty that are coming into Croydon and this is just another thing that is going to add to it."
But councillor Dudley Mead, deputy leader of the council, said: "We understand that nobody wants to see their rent go up and especially during this difficult economic climate.
"We would not be making these changes unless they were absolutely necessary, and have done our utmost to keep any increase to a minimum.
"They will enable us to continue maintaining and improving tenants’ homes and ensure they remain of a decent standard."