This is a recent letter printed in the Swindon Adver letters page, which makes some important points.
I am sick of the readers who use your website to display their ignorance about council house rents.
Council houses are not subsidised by the taxpayers. By law, all the costs are charged to a separate Housing Revenue Account and must be fully covered by the rents charged. Bearing in mind there are still many houses in Swindon Borough Council‘s property porfolio that were built for less than £1,500, it’s easy to see why an average weekly rent of £80 might be sufficient to cover all the costs.
However, rent allowances or rent rebates are payable to anyone on a low income living in either private rented accommodation, housing association properties or council housing. Many of those claiming help with their rent in Swindon are actually in work; it’s just that their wages are not sufficient to pay their rent or to keep pace with rent increases.
These allowances and rebates are fully funded by the taxpayers and because private rents are higher than council rents the allowances to private tenants are disproportionately more costly. So we taxpayers are not subsidising council houses, but are we subsidising employers who pay pittance wages, or landlords who charge rents their tenants can’t afford.
Don Reeve, Okus Road, Swindon