Delay these rent increases

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AT a time when we are all having to tighten our belts and settle for diminished public services, it is only to be expected that council house tenants would be asked to shoulder their share of the burden of the nation’s efforts of getting its finances back in shape.

But surely there ought to be some thought given to the effect it will have on family incomes by shoving up council house rents by much more than the current rate of inflation.

In Sheffield, for instance, the rise will be a whopping 7.8 per cent for the city’s 42,000 council house tenants. In Barnsley, this will be even more, weighing in at an eye-watering 9,45 per cent.

We know benefit payments will, in some cases, cushion the effect increases will have on tenants but there are some who will fall into the gap and face having their rents rocket dramatically.

The reason given is that there is a need to bring council house rents in line with those charged by housing associations and there is a strong argument that all tenants in social housing should be charged similar rent levels.

But the Government, which is pressing for this levelling off of rent charges, should ask itself whether this is the right time to press ahead with this policy. We believe it is not and that the increases should be delayed.

This throwaway society won’t do

REMEMBER the days of waste not want not? That is certainly not the case in our hospitals, if NHS figures are to be believed.

They suggest 200,000 hospital meals were thrown away in this county last year because they were either not eaten or not served.

A review is under way where the figures are highest as bosses seek to cut down on waste.

Whatever the explanation, 200,000 seems a staggering figure and is certainly food for thought.

Dream came true

IT was a truly generous gesture of Sheffield businessman Anthony Hinchliffe to pay for thousands of youngsters to go the Manor Operatic panto at the City Hall. And he will be the first to say that seeing the smiles on those children’s faces was sufficient reward. But we know that he will be also delighted to have received a flurry of letters from grateful pupils at Owler Brook Primary School, in Grimesthorpe, thanking Anthony’s charity, Ant Kids, for the treat. As one youngster said: “You have made my dream come true.” The chances are that Anthony is feeling that his dreams have come true too.