Sunday, 21 March 2010

'Why are Wrecsam tenants subsidising London councils?'


'Why are Wrecsam tenants subsidising London councils?'

London councils are being subsidised through the UK Treasury clawing money from Welsh council tenants.

Wrecsam tenants alone are paying out 11.2 million annually as part of system that local Plaid Cymru councillors have described as "daylight robbery".

Councillor Arfon Jones, who represents Gwersyllt West, said:
"The Housing Revenue subsidy system was originally designed to prevent council housing accounts making a loss but has now spiralled into a money-making machine for the UK Treasury, which then pays out surpluses to 50 councils, all but one of which are in England.

"Councils in Hackney got over 48 million in 2009, Islington received 58 million and Manchester got 34 million while only one out of 18 councils* in Wales were paid - Merthyr got just 293,000.

"Wrecsam Council, by contrast, lost 11.2m from its housing revenue account. That 11.2m is a third of all the money Wrecsam Council has to spend on housing in the borough. This amount could easily pay for repairs and renovations to get our housing up to a decent standard for tenants."

He said that the system was currently being reviewed by Assembly deputy housing minister Jocelyn Davies and added:
"Let's be clear, this is daylight robbery on a grand scale and yet we have no say in the Treasury's decision."

Fellow Plaid Cymru councillor Marc Jones, of Whitegate, added:
"Scottish local authorities are not part of this subsidy regime but Welsh councils pay nearly 100m to the Treasury. This in turn is paid to various boroughs in London and other metropolitan areas in England. It's a scandal and completely unacceptable.

"At a time when some Wrecsam councillors want to push for another vote on stock transfer, we must push for an urgent reform of this disgraceful situation."

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