Cambridge Labour City Councillors are proposing a new deal for City Home tenants, which they say can be funded through a tough and detailed efficiency review. At next week’s City Council committee meetings where the City Homes Budget (the Housing Revenue Account) will be debated, they will propose a lower rent increase in 2014 and a major Environmental Improvement Programme for city housing from 2015, including a significant investment in new fencing.
Councillor Kevin Price, Labour’s Lead on Housing at Cambridge City Council, said: “We don’t agree that our tenants should face a rise of nearly 6% on their rent in 2014 after seeing it go up by 24.5% in the four years since 2010 and when household incomes are being stretched by so many other higher bills like council tax, heating, electric and food costs. We are proposing that any rent increase is kept down to last year’s level and accompanied by a fundamental review of the Housing Services to identify where we can make greater savings. We know it’s tough for councils in this economic climate, but it’s also tough for tenants and we need to support them as well. “
He added: “Secondly, looking round our council streets and estates, there’s a clear need for a major Environmental Improvement Programme after years of neglect and budgets carried forward after being unspent. Fences are falling down and rarely replaced and many pavements are in a terrible condition. We are proposing the fencing budget is doubled for a start and then will look at how else we can invest in making our streets and communities safe and attractive places to live.”
“We are determined to build new council homes, and at higher numbers than the Liberal Democrats plan but equally determined to manage the housing management budget better, recognising that every pound is our tenants’ money and every pound matters. This is just the start of a ‘New Deal’ for tenants. The review we have undertaken in just the fortnight available to us since the Liberal Democrat Budget was made public is a small indication of the root and branch analysis we will undertake if we take control of the Council in 2014