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Tenants get a week off paying rent

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: April 28, 2009

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COUNCIL tenants are to get a week off paying rent and service charges.

The bonus week, which will happen some time before this autumn, will put an average of nearly £60 each in tenants' pockets.

Plymouth City Council, which raised council rents by 5.88 per cent earlier this year, has agreed to take up an offer from the Government of increased subsidies for councils.

The new subsidy was intended to support a cut in the level of rent increases, but the city's housing stock is being transferred to a new housing association, which will not be eligible to get the subsidy.

Council officers came up with the idea of a free week to get round the restrictions.

Councillors from both parties unanimously backed the plan at yesterday's meeting of the full city council.

Giving the city's tenants a week off paying will cost the council £300,000, despite the Government subsidy.

The free week will be between now and October, before the official launch of Plymouth Community Homes, the new not-for-profit housing association that will administer the social housing stock after a ballot of residents last autumn.

Service charges will also be waived during the free week.

The average council rent is £57 a week.

Cllr Peter Brookshaw, the Cabinet member for housing, said the council was giving a free week rather than cutting the overall rent rise to ensure that Plymouth Community Homes started life with a clean slate.

Tudor Evans, the Labour group leader on the council, said: "To do it any other way would have presented the fledgling Plymouth Community Homes with an enormous problem.

"I understand that there are other local authorities that are not taking up this offer from the Government."

Labour councillors joined the Conservatives in giving the scheme unanimous support.

Later Mr Brookshaw praised the "cross-party working" that had allowed the scheme to be brought in so quickly.

He said: "Plymouth is in a very unusual position. We are the only council with a transfer planned half way through this financial year. Finding a solution that is workable for tenants and Plymouth Community Homes has been challenging.

"While the council could recover the lost income, Plymouth Community Homes would not and this would have seriously affected their business plan and ability to achieve decent homes. We hope this innovative solution is the way forward."

Clive Turner, chief executive designate of Plymouth Community Homes, said: "The council and Plymouth Community Homes have worked really well together to come up with a fair solution."

The council cannot yet give a date for the rent-free week as it has to take into account alterations to its accounting system. Other options such as refunding money were also considered but discounted because of the complexities of the billing and benefits systems.

Cornwall Council is considering cutting rent increases to 2.4 per cent because of the new Government subsidy.

In February the council set the level of the average rent increase at £3.14 (5.5 per cent).

Because Cornish council tenants have already paid rent at the higher level for two months, the council is recommending an average rent increase of £1.06 a week from June 1.

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  • Profile image for This is Cornwall
    ted vallis, plymouth city  |  April 29 2009, 9:54PM


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    Why the sudden rise in facist comments?, Plymouth  |  April 29 2009, 1:18AM

    I find it incredible how bigoted the majority of posters are on here. While I admit that there is a percentage of people who abuse the housing register, the large majority do not. Council accommodation is provided to the vulnerable as a priority. This includes OAPs and sick/disabled people. Also, there are many people who live in council accommodation who WORK for a living, and do not claim benefits. Hitler would be very proud with the mentality of the majority of the posters here.

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    I SPY, MARS, (looking at these green eyed monsters)  |  April 28 2009, 10:23PM

    Sammy...............you really are speaking from your poo ppo hole. If its a hand out for the bone idol as you quoted then it makes no odd sods for them as they wont notice it at all. No this hand out is to help those that get of their bums and work hard to provide a roof over their families heads and food in their bellies. This is for the workers of the world. I take it you live at home with mum and dad or your 1 of those green eyed monsters who rent privately if so I suggest you get on to your landlord and ask where you free week is. I just hope you dont have family or friends that live in a council home.....how could you ever look them in the face after what you have just wrote. Lets face it everyone knows someone out there that lives in a council house. A BIG WHOOPS ON YOUR BEHALF!!!!!!!!!!

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    I SPY, PLYMOUTH  |  April 28 2009, 9:50PM

    I suggest to those bitter green eyed monsters that rent privately through landlords get on the phone to their landlords and ask why .......why is it that people with mortgages their banks/building societys have given them lower interest rates to help reduce their monthly mortgages and that the council have given their tenants 1 week free to help pay towards their rent SO WHY HAVENT YOU MONEY MAKING MUPPETS GIVEN US A WEEK FREE PAYMENT ON OUR RENT TO HELP US TOO. At the end of the day its only those who live in council houses that will have to pay back this week some how not the council tax nor the tax payer it will come back to the tenants somewhere down the line. So first thing tomorrow morning all you private renters get on the phone and moan about and to the correct people.....YOUR LOVING LANDLORDS.........most landlords can make over £200 plus a month on you private renters.....so now ask them for something back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    John, St Judes  |  April 28 2009, 6:33PM

    Nice to see that people in council houses that require state funded housing can afford computers and an internet connection. But then i can remeber when i was a kid you could tell a council house because they where the only ones who could afford SKY TV. Like other have mentioned here earlier i wonder if the working non free loading population of Plymouth will get a rebate even if our bins have only being emptied a few times tis year.....Nah can see it!

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    sammy, muff  |  April 28 2009, 5:55PM

    Ridiculous - Welcome to more handouts for the bone idle!

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    Alistair, London  |  April 28 2009, 5:18PM

    I am very pleased that part of the £175billion that I have borrowed is being spent in this way. I hope you all appreciate it as next year I will have to raise Council Tax to pay for it. However beer will be cheaper this year than next so go out and enjoy yourselves. Get into the party spirit.

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    Boris Napper, Eddystone lighthouse  |  April 28 2009, 4:47PM

    So its a week on the beer for Swilley then!

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    me, plymouth  |  April 28 2009, 4:20PM

    moi?, posh town, You obviously don't know alot about interest rates. They have only been going down over the last 6-8 months. Some people unfortunately have a fixed rate mortgage so it does not affect them. I think council tenants should have another free weeks rent (and no I am not a council tenant, I own my own home). PCC are useless with maintaining their properties. I do agree with what somebody said, would be nice if we had a bit of a discount on our council tax.

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    MARK, BARNE BARTON  |  April 28 2009, 3:58PM