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Call to scrap tax on council house tenants

February 25, 2009 12:00 PM

Grantham and Stamford Liberal Democrats are supporting a campaign calling on the government to scrap Labour's "tenant tax" which is forcing up council house rents.

The Liberal Democrat regional conference held recently in Stamford launched the campaign with a motion attacking the government's tax on council house tenants.

Delegates were told that a majority of 25 councils in the East Midlands alone are paying 78 million pounds annually in what is described as 'negative tax' to the treasury. Much of the rent paid by council tenants is creamed off by a stealth tax and paid to the treasury.

Cllr Harrish Bisnauthsing, the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Grantham, Stamford and Bourne, told the conference that many council tenants on low incomes are struggling to pay their rents especially at a time of increasing financial hardship.

He said the tax is forcing many councils to charge higher levels of rent than they would wish. It also means that it leaves councils short of money to pay for council house repairs and the construction of much needed additional council houses.

Cllr Harrish BisnauthsingThe motion also called upon the government to allow councils the freedom to set their own lower levels of council house rent and scrap the national formula currently used which in practice results in higher levels of rent than would otherwise be charged.

Cllr Bisnauthsing said that it was vitally important for the government to listen and take the action called for by the campaign to help people struggling with the effects of the present financial crisis which in some cases is resulting in the loss of jobs and income.