A PLAN to increase council house rents in the borough has been called in for scrutiny.

Finances bosses have suggested a 2.7 percent increase in rent charges on social housing across the borough, as a national government on social rents is lifted in April 2020.

The planned rise would see the average weekly rent increase from £76.47 to £78.53 from April 2020.

Dudley Council's cabinet considered the plan at its meeting on October 31 but it has now been referred to the Place Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday November 13 for further debate and scrutiny.

Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing, communities and residents’ welfare, said of the proposed rise: "Over the last four years, Dudley residents have seen a one percent reduction in their rents every year to bring them in line with government recommendations which has been hugely beneficial to our tenants.

"The reduction has created a challenge to manage housing budgets however, with government restrictions now lifted, we’re suggesting a small increase in rent. We will be able to ring fence this for investment in services for our tenants as we move forward.

"Rents will still be lower than they were in 2016 when we first began the rent decrease which is great news for our tenants.

"This budget is about boosting investment in housing services and thinking about how we plan for the future to ensure we maintain the standards we constantly strive for."

The council's proposed budget for 2020/2021 includes £18.6million allocated to housing management to cover day-to-day duties such as income collection, tenancy enforcement, and support for vulnerable tenants as well as lettings and void management.

It also includes plans to invest £23.8million to cover the cost of responsive repairs and routine void works as well as annual statutory duties such as servicing of gas appliances, electrical inspections and lift servicing.