Thursday 28 October 2010

The rent "consultation" that's actually a sham

Last night's Evening Telegraph and today's Courier report my concerns that, having rejected any attempts to offer Dundee council tenants any real choice for the rent increase in 2011/12, the SNP administration on the City Council has turned the so-called "consultation" with tenants on rent levels into no more than a sham.

Earlier this week at the Housing Committee, I attempted to introduce an additional option for tenants - an increase 1% below anything the SNP offered.   The SNP voted this down, so only options favoured by the SNP will be offered for consultation - at 4.5%, 4.75% and 5% - high, even higher and higher still.   The SNP Housing Convener says "the consultation was not a sham because there were three real options being offered to tenants" but in truth, all that is being put before tenants is what the SNP wants to put the rents up by, plus two even higher options to create an illusion of consultation.

Real consultation would have included an option that removes some of the cost burden placed upon tenants - and this could have been done by removing the council's expensive relets refurbishment programme (£554 000 next year).  It would not have stopped the SNP administration from putting its case to tenants for keeping this programme if they really think it is worth keeping, but it would have allowed tenants real choice on the rent increase.   It speaks volumes that the only way the SNP feel they can get the answer they want to the "consultation" is to remove any real alternative, costed, rental model from this "consultation."   

In summary, a sham.