RENT increases will come in for council housing tenants as this year's housing budget is all set for approval.

Cabinet members are set to give the green light for the Housing Revenue Account budget and Capital Investment Programme for 2014/15 at their next meeting on January 15.

The HRA budget allows Berneslai Homes on behalf of the council to continue to deliver a responsive repair service, to work with partners to combat anti-social behaviour, provide support to vulnerable families and invest in new homes to help people on the housing waiting list.

The capital programme approves a five-year programme totalling £128m. Savings of £8m have been identified.

A £4.2m investment in new build projects will be made, as well as a further £1m in the acquisitions programme which supports the council’s Empty Homes Programme.

There will also be £1.78m available for boiler replacements, targeting the oldest gas appliances in the housing stock, and replacing with more efficient boilers.

Perhaps more notably, council house tenants in Barnsley will also see an increase in their rent from April, with a decision to be agreed on February 6. 

The average weekly rent increase for Barnsley Council tenants in 2014/15 will be £4.66.

The level of rent settlement underpins the viability of the 30-year self-financing business plan for council housing.

Cllr Roy Miller, cabinet spokesperson for development, environment and culture, said: "The rent increase is regrettable, but the budget ensures that front line services are safeguarded.

"Barnsley and indeed South Yorkshire in general has had historically low rents. This has now been made impossible as we have to be in line with government policy."

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