COUNCIL house rents must not go up by 4.63 per cent, an opposition councillor has said.

Oxford City Council’s Green Party has urged the Labour-run authority to drop the increase, which would put an average annual rent up by £96.83. Green leader David Williams said the council was using an “old and costly” formula to calculate rents that it now has the power to drop.

The council is to set rents on September’s retail price index (RPI) rate of inflation, 2.6 per cent, plus 0.5 per cent and a further £2.

He said the authority has a “healthy” pot of rent cash – an expected £5.7m by March 31 – and rents should go up by 2.6 per cent.

But deputy leader Ed Turner said the increase is needed to help pay back £200m it borrowed to buy its 7,819 homes, meaning it no longer has to hand half its rent cash to the Government. He said there is no alternative.