Lib Dems demand a fair deal for council tenants

20 Feb 2023

Leeds Liberal Democrats have submitted amendments to the Council’s annual budget meeting that seek to get a better deal for council tenants, and to get second home owners to pay their fair share towards Council services.


Cllr Stewart Golton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Leeds City Council said:

“Thanks to changes made when Lib Dems were in government, for a decade now Councils have been able to invest their rental income from tenants to invest in their properties. This means that many council properties have had improvements like new doors and windows, but many of these homes exist on estates whose environment has deteriorated over the years. Many were custom built decades ago, and they were designed to reflect the way people lived then. The Council has concentrated on the properties themselves, but often ignored the wider estate. The level of car ownership in particular causes issues on streets designed with narrow roads ”


The Liberal Democrat Group are proposing that funding be made available for each council estate to have an improvement plan to bring it up to date and sort out issues like parking. Of particular concern is the current state of our sheltered housing, and the Liberal Democrat Group are proposing a root and branch review of current provision.


“Much of our historic sheltered housing may provide a warm and comfortable home, but too often the environmental maintenance is appalling, the aspect is depressing and anti-social behaviour is not tackled. Our sheltered housing tenants are more vulnerable than most, and deserve to live in a safe and attractive environment. Our amendment will seek improvements from day one, working with local neighbourhood networks to better involve residents in what happens where they live, and deliver physical improvements to sheltered housing schemes to reduce isolation.”


As well as ensuring that tenants who can only afford to pay rent are getting a fair deal, Leeds Liberal Democrats are keen that others who can afford to pay more also pay their fair share of the costs of local services.

“When Council funds are stretched we should always seek to increase Council income where reasonable. The aborted attempt to charge people for parking in community parks is perhaps the most unreasonable proposal for income generation the Council has come forward with so far, and the public told them so. Our proposal to charge Council Tax to second home owners in Leeds is completely reasonable, as someone who can afford a second home should also be able to afford a second council tax, and those with the broadest shoulders should bear a greater responsibility for paying for public services.”


The charging of Council tax on second home owners will raise £3 million annually for Leeds City Council services, but official notification would need to happen this year for the charge to come into effect for the following year.

“If Leeds Labour regime reject our proposal this year, they will lose out on a badly needed £3 million next year. So far the Labour Group have voted down every one of our proposals at Council Budget meetings year on year. They would have to come up with a very good excuse for the people of Leeds to do the same this year.”

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