Marshalswick South Focus Team

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Boost for St Albans Council Tenants as coalition announces scrapping of “Tenant Tax”

by awitherick on 6 October, 2010

Sandy Walkington, Liberal Democrat candidate for St Albans in the 2010 election, has welcomed the announcement by the coalition government that it will be scrapping the so-called “tenant tax” which was used by the former Labour government to penalise areas such as St Albans.

“Under the old Labour system, Whitehall confiscated half of the rent paid by local tenants and either kept it or spent it in other parts of the country,” Sandy said.  “It was a bizarre extra tax on people who are among the poorest in our community.  Here in St Albans the Liberal Democrat team mounted a vigorous campaign against that policy.  We collected thousands of petition signatures, lobbied Parliament and presented a powerful document to a committee of MPs describing how the previous system was impacting so negatively on our local residents.

“Scrapping the tenant tax became a major Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment, and the coalition government has now announced that it will deliver on that promise.”

The proposal will result in the Housing Revenue Account subsidy being scrapped in favour of greater financial freedom for councils. Under the previous system, all council tenant rent was paid into a local housing pot, from which the government was allowed to make deductions to fund subsidies for other local authorities. The government also retained some of the money centrally.  The new proposals will see this Housing Revenue Account subsidy scrapped. Instead councils will be able to retain all of the money from rents and sales receipts to invest in the repair, maintenance and construction of social housing in their area.

“This can only be good news for local tenants and fair too to all local residents since most of the St Albans council housing stock was funded locally without government subsidy and it was quite unfair that this investment should then be plundered by a greedy Whitehall.  I am thrilled that Liberal Democrats have been able to deliver on our pledge in government,” Sandy concluded.

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