Greens push down cost of rent on new council home

18 October 2018

27.5% living wage rent agreed after Green proposal

The Council will now offer the lowest, most affordable rents yet on a council home planned for the ‘New Homes for Neighbourhoods Scheme’ thanks to a Green proposal.

A ‘living  rent’ – or rent calculated as a percentage of household income – was agreed at a meeting of Policy, Resources and Growth Committee last week. [1]

One of four new council homes planned for Rotherfield Crescent, Hollingbury, will now be offered at ‘27.5% living wage rent,’ a level that Green Councillors say will make the home more affordable for those on the lowest incomes. [2]

Greens have consistently campaigned for truly affordable housing, calling for rental costs to be linked to local wages. Many so-called affordable rents are linked to housing market rates, instead of being measured against people’s actual incomes. A report from 2016 found that residents of Brighton and Hove would need to earn a minimum of £48,000 a year in order to comfortably rent a one-bedroom flat. [3]

Green Housing Spokesperson and Living Rent Campaigner David Gibson commented:

“At last, we are bringing the rents on new council housing down to levels that are affordable for people living on some of the lowest incomes in the city.

“Greens have pressed time and time again for more genuinely affordable housing. We brought down the cost of renting a home under the ‘joint venture’ proposed by the Labour administration. We have managed to secure a new local policy on rents, pushing the council to offer a social or living rent. We have ensured the council is able to buy back more social housing lost to the ‘right to buy.’ On top of this, we have also secured more genuinely affordable rents at Lynchett Close and Rotherfield Crescent.

Councillor Gibson added:

“We are proud of this contribution to more genuinely affordable rents for residents in the city. Unfortunately our proposals to provide more social and living rents using funding already at the council’s disposal were rejected by both parties last week, but with a housing crisis in our city we won’t give up our continued campaign for genuinely affordable homes.” [5]

[1] The ‘Living Rent’ aims to ensure homes are affordable to those on the living wage, and is connected to the median  household incomes in the city rather than ‘market rates.
The 2012 Assessment of Affordable Housing Need found that 54% of households in Brighton and Hove earn below £30,000.

[2] New Homes for Neighbourhoods – Rotherfield Crescent – Scheme approval: http://wap-modern/documents/s132728/Item%2059%20-%20Extract%20from%20HNH%20Committee.pdf as heard by Policy, Resources and Growth Committee 11th October. ‘Green Councillors have identified that lowering the cost of rent could ensure that new council homes could become affordable for a household on an income of £20,000.’

[3] The Argus, 2016: ‘Want to rent a one bedroom flat in Brighton or Hove? You’ll need to earn £48,000 a year then.’

Shelter, ‘Less than 1 in 10 homes on the market are affordable for working families in over half of the country, new study shows.’,_new_study_shows

[4] An amendment put forward by the Green Group of Councillors to use funding already available to ensure the provision of more living rent homes was rejected by Conservative and Labour Councillors last week.$



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