Subject to agreement by Cabinet tonight and the full Council on 1st March, Council rents will increase by an average of 0.9 per cent on 5th April. There will no increase in service charges for caretaking and grounds maintenance services, charges for garages and parking spaces or heating charges.
This is despite the Labour Government continuing its 'clawback' policy. It looks like nearly £16 million of the money that tenants will pay in rent next year - money which should be spent on improving our council homes and estates - will be taken by Gordon Brown. It is a classic stealth tax - the Council cops the blame for increasing the rent and Gordon Brown pockets the cash.
Local Labour councillors have described this stealth tax as "painless". There was a time when, however misguided its policies, the Labour Party could be relied on to speak up for the less well-off.