COUNCIL tenants in Redditch are to face a seven per cent increase in rent equalling just over £5 extra a week.

From April 1, the average rent on 52 week basis will be £89.90 per week – an increase from £84.02.

At a full council meeting earlier this week, it was decided that council rent will be increased by the government cap of seven per cent to improve the quantity of social housing specifically works around mould.

Portfolio holder for housing and procurement, Cllr Craig Warhurst, said: “No one wants to put up rents, but if we don't put it up, we won't be able to continue to fight the backlog caused by Covid and global market pressures.

READ MORE: Second face to face meeting for library relocation proposals

“The safety of our residents is paramount, and this rise is necessary to improve the lives of our tenants.

“Redditch Borough Council is ahead of the curve when it comes to tackling damp and mould but we have to face reality that this will require increased funding.”

READ MORE: Man found in 'extremely serious' condition outside pub after attack

Although the move had the full support of Conservative councillors who state that the increase is less than the current percentage of inflation and significantly less than the increase in private rent, the Labour group opposed the rise.

Labour group leader Cllr Joe Baker called for the decision to be deferred for a future meeting until further details on the housing budget could be presented.

A spokesperson for Redditch Labour said: “The Housing Account is ringfenced and cannot be topped up by council tax however, a lower increase could have been set this year to get over the current pressures on tenants with increasing costs of energy, food due to the effects of inflation particularly in Redditch that has the highest levels of deprivation in the West Midlands.”

During the full council meeting, it was also decided that the current council tax reduction scheme is to offer more support for working-age applicants.

It was agreed that the maximum level of support for working-age applicants in certain income bands will be increased and certain childcare charges where an applicant is working more than 16 hours per week will be disregarded.