18th April 2022 

On the eve of the local elections in 2018, Kingston Liberal Democrats put out a leaflet claiming Kingston council tenants could be owed a water rate charge refund of hundreds of pounds. They promised, that if elected they would launch a “special inquiry”.

Once elected  they said they could not do anything until the court case, which they all already knew about, was decided.

The leaflet was cynical, electioneering, targeting financially vulnerable council tenants in order to win votes.

When the court case showed that council tenants were owed money, the Lib Dem Council then appealed the decision, and took the case all the way to the high court. This was not the actions of a party keen to pay back money owed to council tenants. It was an insult to those that supported them at the time.

2018 Water charges Lib Dem Leaflet
2018 Water charges Lib Dem Leaflet

They also went as far as to suggest that tenants could go to Water Claims UK for help. They neglected to say the company would keep 40% of any claim won on behalf of each and every tenant who signed up with them. See above leaflet.

We applaud the tenants who fought this case and secured the refund for tenants across Kingston. Read more about the case here.

“the Court of Appeal has reaffirmed that Kingston Council unlawfully overcharged its tenants for water charges dating back to 1 April 2002.”

Kingston & Surbiton Labour called on the Lib Dems to commit to the promised enquiry but were rebutted with a statement saying they must continue with the court case. The point stands that they did not need to appeal the decision of the initial court case but did so anyway.

Have the Lib Dems changed, or will they once again, use these tactics to win votes?

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