The amount it costs to rent a council house has increased in Wokingham for more than 2,500 households.

The rents have increased by a total of 4.1 per cent for some of the neediest people in the area.

The increase was decided at a meeting of Wokingham Borough Council’s executive committee on November 25.

During the meeting, the committee chose to increase rents by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which stands at 3.1 per cent plus one per cent.

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The amount of the increase in GBP varies from household to household because there are no flat rates for rents based on the numbers of bedrooms a council house has.

If you are a council house tenant who wants to figure out how much your rent has increased by, use the below formula:

To calculate how much rent has increased by, take the current amount of rent you pay and add 4.1 per cent.

The increase affects a total of 2,570 homes.

These homes have been divided by what council bank account they fall under. 2,552 of these homes pay into the council’s Housing Revenue Account, and 18 of them pay into the General Fund.

The increase in Wokingham Borough was enacted unanimously.

The policy was introduced by councillor John Kaiser (Conservative, Barkham) the executive member for finance and housing.

He said: “The tenant and landlord improvement panel have wholeheartedly agreed it, they were consulted on two occasions before and after it was implemented.”

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The panel is run by tenants and four councillors which was set up to address issue face in the borough.

Cllr Kaiser added: “We’re very keen to maintain 100 per cent decency with our social homes.

“The reason for the increase is to make sure we can continue to fund the decency of the homes and make sure their kept up to standard.”

The increase follows a decrease of one per cent for social housing rents each year for four years, enacted in the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.

However, this decrease was ended in 2020, allowing councils to increase rents by one per cent plus the CPI, freeze rents or even reduce them.

What is the CPI?

The CPI is a price barometer which measures inflation.

It is closely related to the cost of living and is used by companies to set prices for goods and services.

Other big decisions made

Also at the meeting, the executive approved to install approximately 36 electric vehicle charging points, with the council borrowing £66,000 to roll out the project.

This spend would pay for 25 per cent of project, with the rest being funded by the Government.

Cllr Laura Blumenthal said: “With 75 per cent of the funding coming from central Government, it is a bargain.”

You can view all the decisions made by looking at the minutes of the meeting online on the council website.

The executive also chose to formally close the old Farley Hill Primary School site, and entered into an agreement with Reading Borough and West Berkshire Councils to  form an Integrated Children’s Therapy Service.