WREXHAM council house tenants face paying major rent increases after they rejected the stock transfer of their homes.

Up to 25 jobs are also expected to be axed as Wrexham Council struggles to claw back a £1.2m deficit in this year's housing budget.

The authority still needs to find more than £270m by 2012 to bring the council homes up to the modern standards demanded by the National Assembly, after tenants voted to stay with the council last month.

Tenants now face another 3% rent hike on top of the 7.1% increase announced last month.

And 25 temporary housing department posts may also be cut as part of Wrexham Council's 'Plan B' - a scheme drawn up if residents voted 'no' to stock transfer.

As the Mail went to press, the proposals were due to be formally approved by members of the council's executive board.

The job cuts are expected to save the housing department £350,000, and council bosses say they have no choice after tenants decided against transferring their homes to a new body, Tai Wrecsam.

Strict borrowing restrictions set by the Government mean the council can only invest limited amounts on maintenance and improvements, but Tai Wrecsam would not have been subject to the same restrictions and council chiefs believed this would have freed up millions to bring the homes up to scratch.

But now tenants have voted to stay with the council, the authority will have to find £274m themselves.

Council leader Shan Wilkinson said she has spoken to Gordon Brown about the cash crisis, but said there was no extra Assembly money available to them.

'Tough decisions will have to be made,' said Cllr Wilkinson. 'The Assembly respect the decision of the tenants but they are not going to change the rules.'

Deputy council leader Alun Jenkins added: 'Opponents of stock transfer said tenants would face higher rents and job losses if they transferred.

'We are now in the situation where we are going to have to charge higher rents for a worse service to tenants.'

Other long-term measures may involve the closure of estate offices,further rent increases and cutting an assisted gardening scheme.

But opponents of stock transfer say they will continue to lobby the Assembly to have the rules changed.

Chris Maher, chairman of Wales Against Stock Transfer (WASTe), said: 'All we want is a level playing field. If the money was available for Tai Wrecsam, then it should be available to Wrexham Council.

'When Wrexham tenants voted 'no' it sent shock waves through the political community. We have meetings scheduled with tenants across Wales and when we convince them to vote 'no' to stock transfer, the Assembly is going to have to listen.'