What should be done to make housing services available to everybody

November’s results of payment for housing and communal services by the population denied official data on the growth of well-being of Ukrainian citizens, as well as official statements that all socially unprotected citizens receive state assistance in the form of subsidies. According to the State Statistics Service, Ukrainians paid only 72.4% of utility services consumed in October, although in the previous nine months the level of payment was 93.4%.

A comparison of January-September to October shows that citizens are trying to pay for housing and communal services, but with the onset of the heating season, they cannot do this physically. After all, the difference between October and September payment is only in the fact that there was an additional expense item - heating. While this is only for half a month.

The situation when the Ukrainians cannot pay bills for housing and communal services has been created by the current government. As early as January 1, 2016, the total debt of the population was UAH 11.5 billion, and as of November 1, 2017, it is already about UAH 28 billion.

The reason is obvious: over the past 3.5 years, utilities tariffs have increased by an average of 4.8 times.

So, the minimum cost of one kilowatt of electricity in January 2014 was 21.5 kopecks, and today - 90 kopecks. Gas for the population as of January 1, 2014 was UAH 850 per thousand cubic meters, now – UAH 6958.

The average amount of utility payments for a family of three people in a two-room apartment in April 2014 was UAH 583. In October 2017, it is already UAH 2940.

The power promised that all those who unable to pay such bills would receive a subsidy. Indeed, for 4 years the number of their recipients, according to the State Statistics Service, increased from 1.23 million to 6.05 million households, that is, more than 40% of the total population of the country. However, this figure is understated, and it is underestimated by power in all ways.

Suffice it to say that in spring 2017, 6.67 million households received subsidies. 620 thousand families lost the right to subsidies after the minimum wage increased from UAH 1600 to UAH 3200. Raising it, the power immediately selected this increase through the abolition of subsidies.

The government revised the rules for calculating subsidies several times. The social norms of consumption of housing and communal services have decreased, twice – from one year to six months – the period for calculating the incomes of citizens in calculating subsidies has been reduced. By adding pensioners UAH 200 – 300 as “modernizing” their benefits, the Cabinet took away from them UAH 300-500 subsidies.

The power acted with non-working citizens even more cynical. Having destroyed 20% of the industry for three and a half years, it nevertheless considers 1.6 million unemployed to be fictitious: when calculating subsidies, the incomes of such citizens are estimated at two subsistence minimums, that is, UAH 3524.

Families who were deprived of full-fledged subsidies in such ways are not able to pay full bills for housing and communal services. Together with them, the total number of citizens who are entitled to get state assistance is more than 60%. This situation is impossible in a normal country.

The state should help poor people, and not drive everyone into poverty. The Opposition bloc has put forward a demand to reduce tariffs for utility services to a level justified by the socio-economic situation in the country. The level of tariffs should correspond to the level of citizens’ incomes.

We also raise the issue of abolishing the rule on two subsistence minimums in the calculation of subsidies for the unemployed. The state should create jobs, and not deprive unemployed citizens of social support.

The practice of cutting subsidies or unreasonable refusal in them should be canceled. The subsidy should be provided only on the basis of data on the actual income received by citizens.

Ukrainians will pay for housing and communal services under such conditions. The Opposition bloc will achieve the creation of such conditions by the state. If the government does not fulfill our demands, then after the re-election of this power we will fulfill them.