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September 10, 2009 12:00 AM

Stockton tenants in Council owned homes have been losing out for 20 years it was revealed at a Council meeting last night. Councillor Suzanne Fletcher (Lib Dem) had put down a formal question to find out how long tenants had been paying money to the Government, and how much was being paid.

She was told that the "negative subsidy" scheme where a proportion of tenants rents goes back to Government and is not all spent on Council housing locally has been going on since 1989. Whilst figures are not available now for the whole of this time it was revealed that over the last 9 years a total of a staggering £88 million has been paid back to central government.

Suzanne said " I am taken aback by how much money has been lost by the tenants of this area. The official word for it is "negative subsidy", I call it "Daylight Robbery". Just think how many improvements could have been made to our tenants homes if all the rent collected could have been kept and used as it is for other landlords."

She added " Some money has eventually come back as Government grants, each one trumpeted as a wonderful gift, and yet it is only our own money paid back - later!"