Rent rise is too much

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We keep hearing the same story – cuts have to be made, belts have to be tightened and we must make more of less.

Which is all very well, but at the same time the cost of living keeps increasing.

So for ordinary working families, it appears that all this scrimping is not getting us anywhere.

And while wages remain stagnant, it is those who work in low paid jobs who are the worst off.

Which is why we take issue with the latest council house rent rise in Sheffield.

Rent is due to rise from April by 6.2 per cent – almost three times the current rate of inflation.

On the face of it, the weekly increase of £4.31 a week does not sound a lot.

But it will be coupled with a hike in community heating service charges of three per cent.

And then there is the spiralling cost of living, whether its food bills, bus fares or utility bills such as water and electricity.

Suddenly, the increases stack up, so it’s no wonder tenants’ representatives predict many working families will struggle to find the money.

Councillors say they have had to act in line with government social rent policies and that their hands are tied.

But this well-worn argument is becoming less convincing the more it is used. The council could make the rise less painful via subsidies, but has chosen not to.

Consequently, people will find it hard to pay and they are getting despondent because, as ever, it’s ordinary working people who are hit hardest.

We understand the council has to play a political game with the Government and we appreciate that government has done Sheffield few favours.

But there should have been some creative thinking to at least keep rent rises in line with inflation.

The politicians should be wary. People struggling to pay will remember the decision when it comes to voting time.

Let’s stop blaming the Government and do something to help this city’s struggling families.