East Ayrshire Council tenants will be asked to choose whether to increase their rent by an additional one per cent to allow the council to invest in new homes.

Two options are set to go out to consultation, should cabinet approve them on Wednesday.

The first option is a 6.5 per cent increase which, while a significant hike, would only allow the council to ensure the current service is kept at the same level. This would see rents increase by an average of £5.18 per week.

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The second is 7.5 per cent and would allow the council to deliver promised housing developments at Mason Avenue and Castle, New Cumnock. It would see an average increase of £5.97 per week.

The options given to tenants last year were for increases of 4 per cent and 5 per cent.

In a report to cabinet, Head of Housing Blair Miller states: “Ensuring that we strike the best balance in terms of the sustainability of our assets, address poorly performing stock, work to meet our energy efficiency ambitions and understand the impact of the cost of living crisis has never been more difficult.

“Effective asset management is fundamental to the successful delivery of the council’s objectives and to do this, we need to ensure that rents are set appropriately.”

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The council says the housing developments in New Cumnock will only be able to be progressed with a higher rent increase.

The report cites £3.25m in pressures to simply maintain the service and will affect the rent levels.

These include pay awards totalling £1m, debt charges of £1.2m, funding for aids and adaptations of £300k, increased insurance £300k increased waste disposal charges £100k and increased operational pressures of £300k.

The report continues: “The intention is to split the rent increase proposals to allow tenants to help to inform the decision.

“It is therefore proposed to undertake a comprehensive consultation period.”

Cabinet will consider the proposal on Wednesday.