Whatever will the Labour Government do next?
We now learn that Gordon Brown is trousering 38 pence of every pound that St Albans council home tenants pay in rent. It's a scandal.
The Labour parliamentary candidate recently complained about the lack of affordable housing in St Albans. It's a huge problem. It’s her Government in power, they make the rules. The most affordable housing of all is council housing – traditionally made available for the less well off.
So why is her Government taking £7.6 million pounds out of the pockets of some of the least well-off St Albans residents?
Council tenants pay their taxes like everyone else. But unlike anyone else – home-owner or private renter – they are effectively taxed for the privilege.
You pays your money and you pays Gordon Brown too.
The Government argues that the money goes to areas of ‘housing need’. “This seems to be shorthand for inefficient Labour authorities in the north of England.
Of course better-off people expect to pay taxes to help the disadvantaged. That is what tax is for. But it seems positively bizarre and unfair that the less well-off in our community should be additionally taxed in this stealthy way.
Robin Hood took from the rich to pay the poor. Gordon Brown takes from the poor to pay the poor.
It is an even worse story when it comes to receipts from council house sales. The Labour Government now confiscates 75 percent of the proceeds. How then can we build new affordable homes for the growing housing need in our area? How do we build new homes for our children who can’t afford to buy property in St Albans? Or for incoming families working in key professions and sectors?
St Albans led the country with its “Eco-house” in Smallford, a show-home for how traditional council houses can be brought up to the highest standards of energy efficiency. People have come to see it from all over the country. It has won a gold award in the prestigious Green Apple Awards, putting St Albans on the map as an innovative and ground-breaking housing authority.
The idea was to learn the lessons in terms of cost-effective energy conservation measures and then extend them to the rest of the council housing stock – saving tenants money in fuel bills and reducing the district’s carbon footprint. But by grabbing St Albans tenants’ money in this way, the Labour Government makes it almost impossible for this sensible capital investment to be made.
It seems ironic that a Labour Government should be so destructive of the social housing concept. But why should we be surprised when nationwide the lowest-earning ten percent of the population – the people most likely to be in council housing – already pay a higher percentage of their income in tax than the richest ten percent under Gordon Brown’s other taxation policies.
It is just par for the course from this Government – and the poorest and least advantaged among local residents literally pay the price.