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Councillors oppose rent increase

10 February 09 13:42 GMT

London councillors are urging the government to limit a council house rent rise which will put tenants' annual bills up by an average of £300.

From April rents across London are set to increase by up to 9%, more than double the current rate of inflation.

Lambeth councillor Jeremy Clyne said it was "staggering" and Westminster's Philippa Roe said it was "scandalous".

The Department of Communities and Local Government said it was re-examining the implications of the proposals.

Westminster councillor Ms Roe said: "This increase set by the government is absolutely scandalous during what is a difficult time financially for many people."

She added: "While are our views are being considered, we would also like to know what urgent government assistance will be offered to our tenants in the immediate future."

A Department of Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said the system offers "a very good deal" for those in social housing in London.

"Many local authority rents remain well below of those in the private rented sector, at an average of £76.91 per week, ensuring that the most vulnerable are protected," she said.

The planned increase would amount to an average of £3.95 extra per week, she added, and housing benefits would cover that increase for more than 60% of tenants.

But she added: "In light of the current economic climate, ministers have already indicated that they will re-examine the implications of the rent guidelines."

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