Rent increase is a headache for all

Motherwell Civic Centre
Motherwell Civic Centre

Rents for North Lanarkshire Council tenants will rise by two per cent for 2014/15 to allow an additional 150 houses to be built.

The average increase of £1.10 per week will raise just over £2 million for the Building for the Future which will now build 1,150 new council houses by 2020.

However, at a time when many people, including council workers themselves, are receiving just a one per cent pay rise depute leader Councillor Jim Smith admits they struggled with the best course of action.

He said: “It was a difficult decision what to set the rent level at as we represent deprived areas so were a bit reluctant to put rises on.

“We thought long and hard and in fact it causes quite a lot of animosity among colleagues, some people wanted to leave it the same, some wanted to reduce it, others wanted to go up the way.

“In the end we compromised and went with the lowest level we felt we could in order deliver a package for our tenants which includes the 150 additional new homes.”

In addition £1.4 million was committed to accelerate the window upgrade programme, a £1 million one-off contingency created a welfare reforms safety net and there will be a two per cent rental increase for lock-ups and garages.

The SNP argued rents should only have increased by one per cent.

Minority group leader Councillor David Stocks said: “When people are only getting a one per cent rise in their wages, we should not ask them to pay more, it seems only fair.”