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Cornish Families Face Rent Rises

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7:01am 16th March 2012

More than eight and half thousand Cornish families are facing a rise in rent.

From April, Devon and Cornwall Housing Group is hiking prices by 6.1%. That works out at up to £4.50 a week extra.

Officials say the money will build more affordable homes.

Newlyn tenant Jenny Beamish says changes to government funding mean their hands are tied, "The youngsters here can't afford the affordable housing. Also, I think the government want to have some housing as market rent. Well, if you're in a popular area like St Ives that's going to be a lot of money a week and I think that's wrong. We want to keep our communities.

"When they're building houses make it for people to rent as social housing. If someone gets married there's no way they'd be able to start a family because they both have to work to pay the bills. People who are working are penalised all the time".

In a statement, Devon and Cornwall Housing Group said, "The rent increases have been calculated by a formula which is set by the government and linked to RPI. As a result of the formula a number of rents have been raised at less than RPI.

"The Association's rents remain significantly below the "Local Reference Rents" used by Local Authorities in the Region to set the maximum rent that Housing Benefit will cover.

"Devon and Cornwall Housing is committed to providing high quality services and more affordable homes and the money will be invested into these projects and services.

"As always we are working closely with our residents and other agencies to provide income and benefits advice where required".

The government has slashed funding for affordable new-builds and suggested that social housing providers charge 80% of local market rents.

Cornwall Council housing boss Mark Kaczmarek says that will make things worse: "Housing providers still have to provide housing. There's a need and that need is growing. What they have to do then is actually make sure that when they do build local needs housing and affordable housing, they get enough money back from that to build another property.

"What we must make sure of is that we do get a spread of housing across the whole of Cornwall that people can afford to rent. The eighty percent local market rents is a lot higher than what's existing in current social housing rents. In some cases it may be another two hundred pounds a month".

7:01am 16th March 2012

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