GENERICO.ruEconomicsRussians may have their share of utility bills reduced: tariffs are growing faster than wages

Russians may have their share of utility bills reduced: tariffs are growing faster than wages

So far, not all Russians know about subsidies in housing and communal services

The State Duma proposes to reduce the allowable share of expenses for utility bills from 22% of total family income to 10%. But not for all Russians, but only for single pensioners and large families. However, the rest of our fellow citizens are invited to reduce this threshold to 15%, to make it, so to speak, a single and indivisible standard for the entire country.

So far, not all Russians know about subsidies in housing and communal services

Today, in most Russian regions, the permissible share of spending on utility bills is 22%. But there are also pleasant exceptions to this rule. According to federal law, entities can lower (but not overestimate) this bar. So, in Moscow, a limit of 10% has long been established for everyone – not only for pensioners or those with many children. In St. Petersburg – 14%, in Kemerovo – 17%.

It is difficult to predict the fate of this initiative – will it be supported in the new cabinet? The 2024 budget continues to remain in deficit. And according to Rosstat, the total debt for housing and communal services last year increased by 8% compared to 2022 and reached 833 billion rubles.

Money must be collected from debtors somehow. And here they also offer benefits to all payers for housing and communal services, which is about 40 million people. If the share of payment decreases, they will have to provide subsidies.

Parliamentarians explain the heavy debts by the fact that the annual increase in utility tariffs does not take into account the dynamics of household incomes. Tariffs are growing faster than the indexation of salaries and pensions.

The proposed scheme will give a positive result for ordinary Russians who no longer have time to pay their utility bills. But negative – for the state and utility networks. After all, today, due to insufficient funding, they do not have time to prepare them for winter, and in the coldest days people sit without heat. Let us remember the communal collapse in some cities near Moscow.

No one knows the exact number of subsidy recipients. Many Russians who are entitled to them are not even aware of the existence of such benefits. And management companies seem to be in no hurry to educate them on this issue.

Then, the procedure for establishing a critical level of payment for a utility service is quite complicated: twice a year, according to a complex formula and with a set of necessary documents. Not all potential subsidy recipients prefer to contact her.

“I can’t say how the government will react to the parliamentary bill,” says the chairman of the Housing Union, member of the Housing and Communal Services Committee of the RF Chamber of Commerce and Industry, lawyer Konstantin Krokhin, “But residents will definitely vote for lowering the threshold.” In Moscow it is 10% – the capital is rich, the budget allows. By the way, there are no problems with paying money for subsidies. Unlike many other regions, where under various pretexts they are not paid or compensated. There are situations when people pay 30 or even 50% of their family income for housing and communal services. We need a single standard for the country, because this is social justice, before which everyone is equal. Let it be not 10, but 15%, but for all citizens and all regions.

– I think 10-15 million, this is the most superficial estimate. Although today I am not sure that the authorities will accommodate residents halfway in terms of paying utility bills. They will say that there is no money. After all, if we lower the bar, for example, to 15% for everyone, then more of our fellow citizens should receive subsidies.

– I'll tell you where to get them. As an expert, I can say that 40-50% of the utility budget is spent ineffectively. And this, by the way, is almost half a trillion rubles. Spend it rationally – and these funds can be transferred to pay subsidies to Russians and improve their quality of life. There are resources, we don’t need any new laws for this, force officials to implement the old ones that already exist. And we will get the necessary money.

Although I’m not sure about common sense when it comes to communal services. Take a government decree on a moratorium on housing inspections. It led to a direct violation of the rights of citizens in the housing and communal services sector. Just last week, a residential entrance collapsed in the city of Pechory in the Komi Republic. No one except the residents was interested in his condition.

The supervisory authorities – the Housing Inspectorate, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Rospotrebnadzor – do not delve into citizens' statements, do not check the condition of housing, citing government decree 336 on a moratorium on inspections. De facto, these structures do not work, although they are budgetary organizations and are allocated huge amounts of money for maintenance.

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