Wandsworth Council plans to hike rents and more than triple bills

A South London council has revealed plans to hike rents and more than triple bills as high inflation hits the authority’s budget.

Wandsworth Council said cost of living measures are in place to help locals struggling to pay rent.

Council housing rents would increase by 7 per cent from April 3 if the proposals for the 2023/24 financial year are approved. 

Charges for heating and hot water from the council’s communal boilers would also increase by 270pc from April under the plans – an average increase from £6.28 to £22.67 a week.

The council said two-thirds of tenants already have their rent covered by benefits and added that the rent increase would be below inflation, the rise in benefits and the rise in private rents.

The authority also said gas prices from its energy supplier LASER have increased by an average of 270pc for council buildings since October 2022 – which the proposed increase in the heating and hot water charges from the communal boiler systems for 2023/24 would match.

A council report says: “Following the removal of the fuel credit from November 2022, and based on current estimates for 2022/23, the forecast deficit on the heating and hot water account at the end of the current financial year is £1.669 million.

“It is therefore proposed to increase charges effective from April 2023 by 270%.

“This equates to an increase in average charges from £6.28 per week to £22.67 per week.

“Despite this increase the deficit on the heating and hot water account is still expected to increase by the end of 2023/24 to £3.360 million.

“It will then be necessary to carry forward a deficit on the heating and hot water account, which will then be recovered over several years.”

The council operates 50 communal boiler schemes which supply centralised heating and hot water to 3,453 households in estates across the borough.

The authority said the charge impacts 1pc of total residents in the borough.

Non-residential charges are also proposed to increase by 7pc – including those for garages, parking lots and store sheds.

Labour councillor Aydin Dikerdem, cabinet member for housing, said: “Inflation and the huge rise in prices has posed a real challenge to the housing department.

“But the proposed below inflation rise will enable Wandsworth to meet its costs, as well as improving and expanding a high-quality and responsive service for our tenants, and support the investment in more estate managers and the delivery of much needed new council housing for our borough.

“We are acutely aware of the impact the current cost of living crisis is having on our tenants and residents and we will continue to provide support, including financial support, to those in most need.”

The proposals will be discussed by the council’s housing committee on January 24.

Leave a Comment