SUCCESS FOR LIB DEM CALL TO REDUCE RENTS FOR NEWCASTLE TENANTS AFTER LABOUR U-TURN

March 6, 2009 3:21 PM

A senior Liberal Democrat has hailed a U-turn by Housing Minister Margaret Beckett over council house rents as good news for Newcastle tenants.

Senior Lib Dem Cllr Gerry Keating proposed a motion at the city council meeting earlier this week calling on the Government to reconsider its national formula for calculating rent increases, which was previously pegged at inflation plus 0.5%.

This resulted in the Government requiring housing providers like Your Homes Newcastle to hike rents by more than 6% after last year's inflation figure of 5% was used, despite inflation since having fallen to 2%.

Just hours after the motion was agreed by the city council, the Government has admitted that the formula is flawed and has agreed to revise it so that rents will now increase by an estimated 3.1% for Newcastle rather then the previously planned 6.2%.

Councillor Greg Stone, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East, said "This is welcome news for thousands of Your Homes Newcastle tenants in Newcastle East who will see their rent rises halved.

"It is very rare for the Government to admit it has made a mistake but I am delighted that they have listened to the call from Your Homes Newcastle and the city council and dropped their plans for what would have been an unfair rise at a difficult economy time."