01:44PM, Friday 10 August 2018
Rent costs rises have outstripped wage rises in Slough and the Royal Borough this decade.
Figures put together by housing charity Shelter show the average rent for two-bedroom homes in the Royal Borough shot up from 2011 by 15 per cent by 2017.
But average wages – calculated by modelling a two-person home with one occupant working full time and one part-time – fell by 0.8 per cent in that period.
In Slough, the average rent has gone up by 24 per cent but wages have risen by 10.7 per cent.
Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor), the leader of the Royal Borough opposition, said the problem was not specific to the area.
“I think it is a much bigger question,” she said.
“Nationally, we have moved away from social housing.
“We have gone along the lines of, ‘people can privately rent’.
“I don’t think it (the Royal Borough) is doing enough. We have not done enough locally or nationally.”
She said she wanted to see the borough take advantage of its ‘assets’, like council land, and use them to help create homes affordable by people on low incomes.
She acknowledged the council would need to ensure it got a suitable return on land it owns – making building social housing more difficult because developers will earn less from cheaper homes.
“I think councils should take back their responsibilities for council housing,” she added.
Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), the borough’s cabinet member for housing, pointed to the affordable housing planned for the Maidenhead regeneration project.
He added: “We’re always looking at ways to support people in private rented accommodation and our upcoming housing strategy has seen input from a range of partners such as local charities and housing associations and includes looking at ways of working with private landlords to secure lower rents for residents. It’s due to be published in the autumn following consultation.”
Cllr McWilliams added the council is using money made from regeneration to fund ‘large-scale infrastructure’.
Slough’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Mohammed Nazir (Lab, Baylis and Stoke) said Slough Borough Council needed to deliver more than 900 homes a year for 20 years.
He added the demand to live in Slough was driving rents higher and said a national effort to build more homes was needed.
“I don’t think wages will keep up with anything, to be honest, especially the rent demand,” he said.
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