Why not restrict salaries? (Ron and Jane Willey)

We write with reference to the SIC’s tenant rent consultation letter regarding their proposed increases in tenants’ rents to help pay for the SIC’s 40-year-old housing debt.

The increases proposed by the SIC of five per cent for each of the next two years will mean an extra rent for year one of five per cent and another extra five per cent on the second year, meaning in reality a £10.25 total increase over the two years for each £100 of annual rent. On an annual rent of say £3,000, that equals £307.50 per rented home together with the future rents continually to be increased from that new base in future years.

When this is applied to old pensioners like ourselves it is an added burden far in excess of the government’s tight grip on any pension increases coming at a time when heating costs have been increased by a massive eight per cent plus since 15th November and will be undoubtedly be further increased next year and the following years.

We have tried hard to cope with this by only heating one room in our home and turning off the hot water boiler completely yet we still pay more than previously. Some of our neighbours who have not taken these drastic cuts now pay twice as much as us for a similar property.

So, how about it SIC? Why not restrict your own staff’s salaries to bring your pay increases of pay in line with our pension increases?

Not withstanding the £10 million gift from the government as reported in last week’s Shetland Times to help we think that, apart from the half per cent annual increase also mentioned in the SIC letter, any further rent increases to be totally unacceptable.

Ron and Jane Willey

4 Stove Cottages,

Walls.

5 comments

  1. David Spence

    I totally agree with Ron and Jane on their comments regarding the increase of rents by the SIC. However though, and I am sure many people will agree, the increase the energy companies are putting onto peoples’ bills are by far totally unjustified in proportion to those peoples’ income, especially those people on benefits or pensions.

    Just recently one of the energy companies increased their charges by 6.2% and no doubt further increases will be in the pipeline for the next few months. The rather pathetic excuse the energy companies always use to justify their increases is the ‘ wholesale price ‘ has increased………this is despite the fact that in many occasions the ‘ wholesale price ‘ has reduced but the energy companies have still increased their charges (fabricate the truth to maximize profits – typical trait of capitalism).

    Despite the recent intervention by the Government to tackle the problem of the energy companies greed and many people finding it difficult to pay such unjustified charges, the energy companies had the audacity and quite frankly cheek to announce that they would not be increasing their charges as much as they would have done due to the intervention by the Government, where, it is believed (and will be totally wiped out by further increases by the energy companies greed) the average consumer will be better off by £50 on their annual energy bill.

    The extra strain and work on the Local Authorities and expense on the Tax Payer in tackling the consequences of people suffering from the cold or other ailments related because they cannot afford to pay for their heating will be far greater than the £50 per person allegedly, this Government says will help in tackling the greed of the energy companies. So, rather than properly tackling the greed of the energy companies by forcing them to cap their charges, this Government has decided to use Tax Payers money to, in affect, bribe the energy companies to reduce their over-inflated charges.

    As for the Regulator, that is nothing but a joke in their responsibility to act on behalf of the consumer and to tackle the problem of the greed orientated energy companies.

    Reply
  2. Colin McKearney

    I totally agree with Ron’s letter and would like to add that instead of penalising the council house tennants , some of whom werent even born at the time this debt occured , the sic should be pursuing the government far more vigourously than it has for them to honour the promises made years ago. If they had used some of the money they have wasted on idiotic consultations and the ridiculous education proposals , not to mention all the money wasted on the likes of the bressay bridge , viking , norrona etc etc etc etc , they wouldnt find themselves in the financially embarassed state they are in now.

    Instead of fannying around any longer with various lickspittles they should be demanding this is settled before any more oil or gas leaves the Islands.

    Reply
  3. Barbara Steven

    I hope when the Shetland Islands Council increase our rents to cover the debt of 40 years ago, they remember to include all the tenants who bought their local authority houses over the intervening period.

    A great number of these houses were bought for very low prices and have been sold on with massive profits being made. I know of at least two cases where houses/flats were bought while the tenant was in the process of building a new property, then renting out and eventually selling their ex-council property after three years (the period in which any discount must be repaid, I believe). Many of these properties end up belonging to greedy landlords who are out to make as much money as they can from their tenants.

    I think this is morally wrong and it is unfair that the present local authority tenants should have to pay the price.

    Reply
  4. Stewart Mac

    Barbara,

    I believe you are indeed correct, it is morally wrong for the current generation of Council Tenants to have to foot the bill for 40 years of broken promises and lack of action by the SIC . An average mortgage lasts 25 years not 40 so what’s been going on that the Council have been continually going round in circles with this? Interest rates are at an all time low so why are we still wallowing around with a 40 year old debt while Shetland has some of the highest Council house rents outside of London? – procrastination and apathy to name but two – Lump it on the tenants, that’s the EASY way to avoid a difficult decision

    As for the Right to Buy, that’s a whole different argument and one you should perhaps take up with the Government directly. It was Mrs Thatcher’s Torys that introduced it as a means to increase owner occupiers and thus the Tory vote. It worked (at that time). Since 2002 and the new tenancies the amount of discount has been severely curtailed for new tenants at least. The SIC, like any local authority could apply for exemptions (if they haven’t already) to stop any more sales. Seems that the Scottish Government are intent on ending Right to Buy anyway.

    Reply
  5. Harry Dent

    The right to buy has been a disaster for the UK.

    A huge proportion of ex-council houses have ended up, not being owner-occupied, but in the hands of the buy-to-let landlords, who charge vastly more than councils, with tenants and the taxpayer effectively buying their extra houses for them.

    All councils have been forced to sell property at way below the market rate, have been deprived of the income they should have had, and been prevented from buidling significant numbers of houses to replace those that that have been grabbed by private landlords.

    In Shetland, as we all know, the situation has been exacerbated by the government’s bloody-minded refusal to honour the promises made 40 years ago.

    Calling for ordinary council workers’ pay to be pegged back doesn’t offer any sort of solution; it just echoes what the Tory-Liberal coalition is doing anyway, and punishing people who are in the same boat as the aggrieved council tenants. Indeed many council workers will also be tenants and being hit hard by this unjust rent increase.

    Reply

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