The body that represents Dundee’s pensioners has shared concerns that the city’s controversial shower tax may not be lifted until this time next year.
Members of Dundee Pensioners’ Forum met with council housing chiefs at the end of last month to discuss the standing charge. The forum has also met with MSPs to discuss it.
The Tele is calling on Dundee City Council to Axe The Shower Tax imposed on all local authority tenants who have a shower at home.
In a recent poll almost nine in 10 readers backed our campaign, which was launched earlier this year and has received significant backing.
Dorothy McHugh, secretary of the forum, had asked council officers to consider an “exit strategy” for winding down the tax – only to be told it would not be considered until the next rent consultation in November.
If that comes to pass, it means local council tenants will be paying as much as £10 a week from now until at least April next year for showers in their homes.
The forum is preparing to step up the pressure on local elected members in a bid to have the charge removed before then.
Ms McHugh said: “We’ve spoken with MSP Joe FitzPatrick and his view is that the charge’s removal should be included in all options during the next rent consultation.
“But our view is that we don’t want to wait that long because the earliest it would come off would be next April. We want it removed before then and we have cross-party support.”
Council leader John Alexander claimed earlier this year that “it isn’t our decision, it’s tenants’” to have or remove the shower charge, rather than being up to the council.
This has been repeatedly refuted by Ms McHugh and other members of the forum. She added: “The council seems to think the only option is to remove it through the rent consultation but that’s not really the truth.
“They are the council – if they wanted to remove it they could. Councillors could decide to remove it. We’ll be carrying on with meetings and considering our approach to elected members.”
Ms McHugh also had concerns about agreements signed by tenants, having been provided with a generic copy of the agreement by housing boss Elaine Zwirlein which she said made no mention of the charge.
However, Dundee City Council has claimed full details of the charges would be included on every agreement– but was not mentioned in the generic copy given to the forum.