Stirling Council pledges significant housing stock investment with 1.3% rent increase

Stirling Council said its housing rents will remain among the lowest in Scotland after councillors approved a marginal 1.3% increase for the year ahead.

Stirling Council pledges significant housing stock investment with 1.3% rent increase

Cllr Evelyn Tweed with the council’s private sector housing manager with the UK Solar and Storage Award in 2019

The rise will see the average rent of a council property increase by 98p per week, from £75.77 to £76.75 over a 48-week period.

Council tenants were offered a choice between a 1.3% or 2.1% increase for 2021-22, with the vast majority (69.1%) backing the lower option.

The increase will help the council meet the estimated increase in cost pressures for the service and help fund investment of more than £23 million in council housing across communities in the coming financial year.

The plans were approved at a special budget meeting yesterday and include almost £15m to build around 130 new homes.

Speaking after the decision, housing portfolio holder, Cllr Evelyn Tweed, said the total investment of £23.237m underlines the council’s commitment to creating more affordable and social housing across all communities, while also funding ambitious plans to refurbish and renew existing stock.

Cllr Tweed added: “The council has agreed a targeted Capital Investment Programme for the coming year which will significantly improve the quantity and quality of our council housing.

“It’s clear that housing remains a priority for our residents, and today’s decision proves the council is committed to delivering for the people who live here.”

Plans in the report also showcase continued investment in renewable technologies for the council’s existing housing estate.

Joint depute portfolio holder, Cllr Danny Gibson, added: “Stirling Council was recognised as a leading social landlord in solar and battery storage technology in the UK with a national award in 2019, and this budget sees a further £1m allocated to the installation of solar panels and solar photovoltaic systems or battery storage systems for 150 homes.

“It’s our goal to not just build more homes, but to build better quality homes, which are more sustainable and energy efficient, and today’s budget plans fuel that ambition.”

The report also outlined a commitment to an expansive plan of further internal and external renewals of existing stock, which amounts to over £8m of investment.

Cllr Alasdair MacPherson, joint depute portfolio holder, added: “This budget will help us provide comprehensive improvements and upgrades to our Council houses, including everything from kitchens to roofing.

“I look forward to seeing these projects get underway and for existing and new tenants to be able to benefit from these changes in the near future.”

The full report and details of the investment are available here.

Speaking after councillors rubber-stamped the rent increase as well as a 1.3% increase in rent prices for garages and pitch sites, Cllr Tweed said: “(Yesterday’s) decision means the costs for renting a council house in Stirling remain significantly lower than the average for Scotland.

“While a higher increase would have funded even greater improvements to the local housing stock, we listened to the views of our tenants through our annual consultation and they felt that a lower increase would be helpful at this time.”

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