Friday 21 January 2011

SNP council rents hike criticised

I spoke earlier today on Radio Tay news criticising the above-inflation council house rents increase in Dundee being proposed by the SNP council administration.   You can hear this by clicking on 'play'  above.  

The SNP Housing Convener says that the 4.5% increase is the lowest of the options on the table but what he conveniently forgets to tell tenants is that I proposed that the council also consult tenants on a lower increase – a full 1% lower - and the SNP blocked this to prevent any real consultation on genuine options. Instead tenants got SNP inflation busting options only – ranging between 4.5% and 5% - which will hit hard pressed families at a difficult time.

The response to the consultation – 428 tenants out of 12 995 – or just 3.3% - shows that if you give tenants a fake consultation with no real options other than high increases, tenants will treat the “non-consultation” with the contempt it deserves and boycott it. That is exactly what has happened. The reason the SNP was unwilling to consult on my lower increase level is that, deep down, they know that tenants would have supported the lower level and that would have upset their plans to impose an inflation-busting increase.

I will be proposing a lower increase of just 3.5% when the council meets on Monday.   The Consumer Prices Index this week shows inflation at 3.7% so a 3.5% increase is a reasonable step. The SNP increase they claim is vital is not vital at all – it is excessive and will hit many tenants hard.

I will also speak about this matter on Wave 102's news on Monday.