RENTS for council houses in and around Wrexham are to go up by an average of nearly £2.50 a week from April, an above-inflation rise of 3.8 per cent.

If the figure is approved by the authority’s powerful executive board later today the weekly payment on an average council home will go up by £2.42.

Wrexham Council’s landlord services manager Fred Czulowski said the council’s annual rent income from its 11,500 properties amounted to £35 million but of this £11m had to go back to the Welsh Assembly Government.

The authority also had to comply with Assembly Government guidelines when it came to setting rent levels.

The extra money raised this year would, he said, enable the council to plough more money into its day-to-day repair service and into its capital programme for major modernisation work, which next year will total £11.3m.

It would also help meet the additional cost of moving people out of Hightown flats which are earmarked for demolition.

Council leader Cllr Aled Roberts said: “For the last two years we haven’t set rent levels up to the Welsh Assembly Government guidlelines. This is because we appreciated the pressures that our tenants have been under financially.

“However, the demands on us to improve our housing stock mean this latest proposed increase is slightly above inflation.”

Cllr Roberts added the amount Wrexham spends on administration costs for its housing service was well below Assembly Government guidelines.

“We also put more money into our housing stock than any other authority in Wales and we are doing all we can to improve our stock,” he said.

He revealed that Wrexham currently made the largest contribution from its rent income to the Assembly Government but a review was under way into how much councils were asked to pay each year.