TENANTS in council properties will see their rent increases slashed after Swindon Council agreed to bid for Government funding.

But politicians on both sides of the political divide have been quick to claim credit.

North Swindon MP Michael Wills said: “The Government announced in March that they were prepared to offer local authorities the opportunity to bid for additional subsidy, if, and only if, they revisited the level of rents sent for council tenants and reduced them by that amount.”

Mr Wills claimed he urged council leader Rod Bluh to take up the scheme and contacted ministers on the council’s behalf to get further details.

He said: “I am delighted that they have now listened to my advice and chosen to bid for this new Government money to provide real help to Swindon’s council tenants.”

But Coun David Renard, the cabinet member for health, housing and adult social care, remembered things slightly differently.

He said: “I welcome it for the tenants but the Government could have worked a lot quicker.

“They proposed a formula which worked out at 6.2 per cent.

“We went out to consultation on that but at the same time we wrote to the Government to say that we didn’t think that level of increase was right when we are talking about the poorest people in our society at a time of great need.

“The Government didn’t get round to agreeing to us until we had gone through that process.”

South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove said she was pleased for her constituents.

She said: “I am glad to see that the council has seen the sense of bidding for this money as it will make all the difference to many of my constituents during the current economic climate.

“It is a high priority of mine and the Government to ensure that real help is given to tenants.”