A Perth councillor claims some council tenants face “sky-rocketing” increases in their fuel bills.
Peter Barrett, who is one of the representatives for Perth City Centre, claims that around 115 flats in Lickley, Milne and Market Courts could each see rises of £25 per month.
“This was done without any prior warning or consultation,” he said.
“The flats are served by a communal heating system.
“At first I couldn’t believe it and tried to reassure my constituent that the council would have had to advise tenants and residents that such a huge price rise was being contemplated.
“I immediately got in touch with senior housing managers.
“I expected to be able to scotch the myth of the £25-a-month rise and reassure residents that any increase would be much more affordable.”
The Scottish Liberal Democrat slammed the council’s handling of the whole affair, describing it as “woeful and utterly hamfisted.”
“I am appalled by the response from the council they seem to think that this enormous hike is simply a matter of routine,” he added. “The fact that the council hasn’t engaged with the people who will be asked to foot the bills is absurd.
“It displays a callous disregard for residents and shows precisely how badly out of touch the SNP administration is with local people by sending their heating bills through the roof without a second’s thought.”
However, a spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said the flats concerned have benefited from extensive capital improvements, and claimed tenants at Lickley, Milne and Market Court have been paying less than the full cost of communal heating and lighting.
“The council has been improving the heating system at the blocks of flats to minimise heating charges,” she said.
“In recent years these flats have benefited from extensive capital improvements, with around £765,000 spent on triple-glazed windows, new double-glazed windows in communal areas, new doors and screens in the ground floor lift area, which has helped reduce draughts in the building.
“In addition, we have fitted new heat exchangers to the heating systems in council-owned flats.”
She added: “Due to historic subsidies and energy prices, tenants and private owners at Lickley, Milne and Market Courts have been paying less than the full cost of communal heating and lighting.
“The council has not yet made a decision about future charges, but the proposed increase would be £3.62 a week over a 52-week period around £14.50 a month, £188 a year.”