An opposition councillor’s motion has enshrined the city council’s move to Axe The Shower Tax in policy – as the Tele’s campaign was praised by elected members.
At a meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee last night, Labour West End councillor Richard McCready said it would be “remiss” of the council not to recognise the Tele’s role in abolishing the much-hated charge.
Shower charges, imposed under a Labour administration in 2007, have cost council tenants with showers in their homes thousands of pounds each over the last decade.
We launched our campaign after Dundee Pensioners’ Forum expressed concerns that city OAPs had been “held to ransom” during last year’s rent consultation.
Tenants were given the choice of abolishing the shower charge – but only if they approved a 4% rent rise rather than one of 3.75%. Forum secretary Dorothy McHugh described it as “outrageous” at the time.
Mr McCready said: “I would like to pay tribute to the pensioners’ forum but it would be remiss of us not to mention the campaign by the Evening Telegraph which has also kept this in the public eye.”
Mr McCready – who was a member of the administration at the time the charge was introduced – conceded that abolishing his own party’s policy was “the right thing to do”.
“It’s important to be able to say – we’ve been doing one thing but now we need to do something different,” he added.
Labour leader Kevin Keenan tabled a motion to put the plan to end the charge on public record.
He has asked council officers to bring a report to committee on the abolition of the charge, after council leader John Alexander announced plans to scrap it on Friday.
The SNP administration leader says a shake-up of the council’s long-term loan repayment schedule has freed up £750,000 of cash to plug the gap.
Mr Alexander, who also convenes the policy and resources committee, said he was “more than happy” to second Mr Keenan’s motion.
He used the meeting as an opportunity to praise the “positive and engaging” campaign run by the pensioners’ forum – but failed to acknowledge the Tele’s seven-month campaign.
“We are all in the same place in terms of this policy,” he said.