Plans to introduce an indefinite charge on residents who had showers installed at their properties were “bulldozed” through despite protests by housing officers, it has been claimed.
The Tele has launched a campaign calling on Dundee City Council to scrap charges levied on tenants who have to pay up to £10 a week for showers in their homes.
Now a former council housing officer involved in the original scheme has claimed colleagues were “vehemently” opposed to the charge.
The worker, who asked not to be named, said: “I was heavily involved in the discussions at the time of the introduction of the charging policy.
“Our team argued vehemently against the concept.
“An in-perpetuity levy on the rent made no sense but at the time our staff were completely railroaded.”
Labour controlled the local authority administration in 2007, but Labour leader Kevin Keenan now agrees it is time for the charge to be scrapped.
He said: “The charge was introduced by Labour in 2007.
“When it was introduced it was in the belief that it would last for four years.
“However, when 2011 came it was decided that the payment would continue for the lifetime of the property and would transfer from tenant to tenant.”
“It was introduced at the time for the best possible reasons because we saw there was a medical need in some instances.
“We are now in complete agreement, however, that it is time for this charge to go. We are backing the Tele’s campaign.”
Labour councillor Richard McCready said: “It is time to reconsider this policy and look to see if it is possible to find a means to phase it out.”
Among those supporting the Tele’s campaign is Morag McGrattan, 57, from Maryfield.
She said: “Over the past 11 years my shower has cost me £2,800.
“I’m delighted to back the Tele’s campaign to get this ridiculous charge scrapped.”
Council leader John Alexander said: “If the charge was to be removed the council would have to find almost £600,000 to balance the budget, which would mean cuts to other housing services or the equivalent of a 1.25% rent increase across the board.”
“This policy was introduced as a way of giving tenants choice at a time when resources were focused on ensuring that council houses in the city met the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.”