West Lothian council rents to go up
The meeting heard that almost half of those affected by the increase are either in receipt of Universal Credit or other benefits.
The SNP group demanded a rent freeze. Councillor Janet Campbell, SNP group leader said: “ We are in the midst of the biggest crisis any of us have seen. Our constituents expect politicians to show political leadership.”
She said many were facing greater demands with rising food and heating bills, loss of work or the chance to earn more working overtime. The council had the opportunity, she said, to help people by freezing the rents.
Council rents in West Lothian were below the Scottish average this financial year and one of the lowest across Scotland.
Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick, Labour Group leader and leader of the council said: “It’s a basic fact that despite the pandemic the Scottish government has never offered one penny of assistance to local authorities’ Housing Revenue Accounts. It’s also a fact that they have failed to protect local government finances.”
Executive councillor George Paul, who presented the motion both for the rent rise and the outline spending plans, branded SNP comments and spending proposals as “ irresponsible”.
In the same online meeting, the council agreed to spend more than £80 million over the next two years on current and new council homes.