South east's biggest rent rises are in Dartford and Gravesham
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 June 2019
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Rents are continuing to rise, with Dartford and Gravesham coming out on top of a new chart listing the greatest increases.
The GMB union's congress was told across the south east, the average rent for a two-bed flat is now £875 a month. That's up 25per cent since 2011.
On the other hand, wages have gone up just over 8pc in that time.
The union says there is now a massive shortage of homes for rent at reasonable rates for workers in the lower pay grades.
GMB Southern's new study used official data to show that between 2011 and 2018 rents for two-bedroom flats across the region went through the roof.
The study discovered Dartford is the local authority area that has seen the biggest rise in rent prices.
In the same period for the same property, rents rose by an average of 40pc to an average of £910 per month.
Meanwhile, wages in Dartford rose by just 11.2pc.
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Other councils in the south east with a significant gap between pay rises and rent included Gravesham, where rent has risen by 36pc and wages have actually decreased by 3.3pc.
Paul Maloney, GMB regional secretary, said: "Policy mistakes have made the housing position for lower paid workers worse.
"Council homes for rents at reasonable levels were aimed at housing the families of workers in the lower pay grades and did it successfully for generations.
"These were sold off but crucially not replaced as a matter of Tory dogma.
"Housing benefits was introduced instead to help pay rents for those on lower paid and the costs to the taxpayer has ballooned to over £24billion a year.
"It would have been far cheaper to build the council homes.
"There is a massive shortage of homes for rent at reasonable rents for workers in the lower pay grades.
"There is now no alternative to higher pay to pay these higher rents plus a step change upwards in building homes for rent at reasonable rents.
"Dogmatic opposition to allowing councils to build homes for rent is a luxury we can't afford."