In case you missed the BBC London news item on Tuesday evening – here is the Surrey Comet article about RBK and Water Charges for council tenants
It seems that there has been a court ruling that it was illegal for another council to charge tenants to collect their water rates and pass it on to Thames Water. They were effectively buying and then reselling the water to make a profit and this was not acceptable. Apparently, in the Lib Dem manifesto for the recent local elections they pledged to refund Kingston tenants who had experienced this. However, it now transpires that maybe RBK did not make a profit out of it, but instead acted as an ‘agent’ for TW, collecting payments due and passing them on to TW- ie tenants only paid what they would have paid directly to TW. This is now subject to a legal challenge. The Lib Dems have been attacked for reneging on a manifesto pledge- but it seems they cannot address the issue until the ruling on whether or not they were TW agents or re-sellers has been confirmed.
From April 2018, all RBK tenants pay TW directly and I gather that some of them have been asking for our help with the change – finding it confusing for the water rates element of housing costs to be handled separately now.
We shall have to watch this space and see what the ruling is on whether or not tenants are entitled to refunds. If they are – then we should do a local campaign to help them secure their entitlement, in my view – what do YOU think?