Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Tenants' fury at fuel price hike

Hand on radiator
Tenants claim the system is unreliable

Angry council tenants in Leicester are to take their fight against a planned increase in their energy bills to the prime minister.

Leicester City Council has announced that 3,000 tenants who use the district heating and hot water service face a price rise of 76%.

The increase is due to come into force on 10 November.

The city council said it was buying gas and electricity at an increased price and was forced to pass on the cost.

St Matthew's Tenants' Association chair Jean Williams said: "Most of the people on this estate are taking the lowest-paid jobs and Leicester City Council have failed us badly."

She said the residents had presented a 369-name petition to the city council two weeks ago and they were planning to compile a letter to Gordon Brown next week which they wanted their MP to deliver to Downing Street by hand.

Tenants also claim the system is unreliable and they pay regardless of whether they use energy.

A council spokesperson said: "Through careful management, and using some subsidy from rents, we have managed not to pass on the huge increases we have faced to these tenants.

"However, we are paying three times more for our gas now than we were four years ago, so our tenants will need to move towards paying the full cost."

The spokesperson urged people facing hardship to contact the council's team of advisers.

The council added it had looked into the cost of installing meters - a measure requested by some tenants to control energy use - but it was too costly.

A council spokeswoman said the weekly cost of heating and hot water would rise by 8.58 to 15.10 for a one-bedroom flat, and by 14.67 to 25.82 for a three-bedroom house.


Leicester City Council said it was paying three times as much for gas than four years ago

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