A new rent system introduced by Cork County Council has been described as 'a horrendous act by the council.’
A number of councillors attending a meeting of its Northern Division expressed their concerns towards the new system and said they are concerned that family income supplement (FIS) is now being included in the calculation of household income.
Cllr Melissa Mullane said that should be discontinued, especially as FIS was there simply to bring up wages to a living standard because 'some employers are not paying workers a decent wage'. She said including FIS in calculating rents was 'a horrendous act by the council'.
Cllr June Murphy, who is chairperson of the divisional committee, said she had spoken to some families whose rents recently jumped by 60% and claimed rent increases should have been phased in and gradually introduced.
Cllr Murphy agreed with Cllr Mullane that FIS should not be included in overall household income calculations. “Some families have seen an extra €30 per week rise, which is a lot when you’re budgeting,” she said.
“I never saw so many families so upset by this. It hit them like a bombshell,” Cllr Frank O’Flynn said.
Saying FIS was introduced by the Government 'in order to give families a living wage', Cllr Gerard Murphy said: “It’s not logical to give it to them with the one hand and take it off them with the other.”
The council’s director of housing Maurice Manning, said the majority of council rents hadn’t been reviewed since 2014 and the local authority had written to every tenant asking them to update current household income levels.
Mr Manning maintained the average rise is just €7 per week. However, he said he was prepared to examine hardship cases.