Rent increase hitting workers and families say union

The average rent for two bedroom apartments has risen to more than a third of gross average earnings of tenants in 30 south east England local authorities – that’s the claim of the GMB union.

It says in that Brighton and Hove the rent for a two bedroom property is 47 per cent of the gross average earnings – the highest in the region.

Next highest are 46 per cent in Woking, 43 per cent in Epsom and Ewell and Mole Valley, 42 per cent in Guildford, 41 per cent in Oxford, and 40 per cent in Crawley, Spelthorne and Tandridge.

In the south east as a whole, tenants are paying out 32.9 per cent of their earnings on rent, up from 28.7 per cent in 2011.

The figures show that “a massive programme to build more homes, especially homes for rent, by the south east [local] authorities is absolutely essential” says Paul Maloney, GMB southern regional secretary.

“Last year…£24 billion was spent on housing benefit, with much of this public money ending up untaxed in bank accounts in offshore tax havens. If a fraction of that amount had been spent on social housing for rent, the strain on the tax payer would be less and people would have housing they can afford to live in” he says.

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Written by: Houseladder