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Austrian politicians live in council house

Should politicians be allowed to live in council houses? Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP) was forced to justify why he lived in a cheap apartment in the past.

Governor Gabriele Burgstaller (SPÖ) still lives in two subsidised council flats in Hallein, state of Salzburg. According to the mayor of the town, around 400 people are currently waiting for an apartment.

Mrs Burgstaller merged two flats into one flat, which is now 115 square metres. However, she only pays 766 Euros (including running costs) per month. This was first criticised in 2011.

"Apparently, Mrs Burgstaller has not learned from the scandal about her flat. Despite her huge salary (222,768 Euros per year), she still blocks two council flats", critics from Hallein stated.

A spokesperson of the governor countered that the flat belonged to her husband who has been a member of the cooperative flats association since 1986.

Vice Chancellor Spindelegger demands that the debate should become more objective: He was accused of having lived in a cheap council flat owned by the municipality of Hinterbrühl (Lower Austria).

"I have never lived in a subsidised apartment. I just wanted to stay in Hinterbrühl and the deal was that I applied for the flat and paid 176,000 Schillings of construction cost subsidy", Mr Spindelegger defended himself.

The Vice Chancellor demands a further salary check for tenants if they apply for council houses. Moreover, the city of Vienna should solve another housing problem: although 10,000 apartments in Vienna are empty, 33,000 people are in search of a place to live.

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