Last week was black Wednesday for council tenants of Bolsover when the Labour-controlled council pushed through massive rent increases of 9% coupled with service charge increases of up to 26%.
At the meeting the leader Cllr Watts argued that this money was needed for repairs and maintenance.
Odd then that their plans show that in 2014/15 the council will be spending slightly less on repairs and maintenance.
As I pointed out at the meeting, these increases are simply unaffordable.
Elderly tenants haven’t seen their pension increase by 9% and working families certainly haven’t had that sort of wage increase so more households will have to endure the stigma of claiming benefits.
In challenging this policy I showed how the council could cap rent increases without threatening jobs by removing unnecessary contingencies in their budget like the £150,000 per year for “Other Miscellaneous Expenses”.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.
Far from being “All in this together” it is the poorest who are being asked to pay the most and Labour councillors are not standing up for them.
Many other councils have listened to their tenants and are rejecting the coalition’s divisive agenda.
Around the country opposition to these rent rises is increasing and I urge tenants of Bolsover and other authorities to come and join the growing protest before a council home simply becomes unaffordable.
CLLR DUNCAN KERR