Aristocratic Britain exposed as real welfare parasites
mark at tlio.org.uk
mark at tlio.org.uk
Tue Feb 25 09:00:17 GMT 2014
Aristocratic Britain exposed as real welfare parasites (whilst benefit
cuts mean increasing numbers of the poor starve)
A freedom of information request by GMB union has revealed that
Castle-dwelling aristocrats and some particualrly wealthy Tory MPs are
raking in the lion’s share of the £23billion of taxpayers’ cash that
goes towards subsidising the rent for 1.65 million private properties
in Britain via their feudal property empires.
(BTW, The Morning Star headline is incorrect. The article itself
explains that the rich are getting the lions' share of the £23 Billion
housing benefiit budget - not all of it.)
Today’s Front-Page Story in Morning Star
“Scroungers bank £23bn in welfare”
Rental barons rake in billions from social security amid housing
By Ryan Fletcher
Castle-dwelling aristocrats are raking in massive amounts of housing
benefit through feudal property empires targeting the poor, a freedom
of information request revealed yesterday.
In circumstance reminiscent of the Middle Ages – earls, barons,
viscounts and lords are among a group of fat-cat landlords pocketing
billions from cash-strapped tenants.
Adding insult to injury, the landlords are also the real beneficiaries
of Britain’s welfare system, as they also receive the housing benefit
provided to renters struggling to survive. They included Tory MPs
Richard Drax and Richard Benyon, as well as Tory peers Earl Cadogan
and Lord Cavendish.
GMB union unearthed the shocking news after an investigation into
which landlords were receiving the lion’s share of the £23billion of
taxpayers’ cash that goes towards subsidising the rent for 1.65
million private properties in Britain.
According to their study, published yesterday, the top 20 company
landlords in each of the 311 out of 380 councils in Britain receive
housing benefit direct from councils for tenants renting their
Sixty-nine councils refused to release any information at all.
The list of the companies’ owners and directors includes two
viscounts, two dukes, five earls, three marquises, a marquess, four
barons, a baroness and a knight.
At least 10 of the landlords own castles and were receiving upwards of
£10,000 a year in housing benefit.
The highest was a whopping £626,000 from West Berkshire Council for
Conservative MP Richard Benyon, owner of the palatial Englefield House
and the nation’s richest MP.
His company also owns 300 houses in Hackney, east London, and
thousands of acres of land. Mr Benyon was not available for comment.
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “Shovelling millions of pounds
to the likes of castle-owning barons while so many either wait for a
home or have to pay exorbitant rents is a public scandal”.
“This research lifts the lid on the mainly secret payments to
landlords who are the real winners from Britain’s welfare system. This
should bring both shame and action from this government to end this
exploitation of public money”.
Mr Kenny proposed a way to end Britain’s shameful history of economic
exploitation by the aristocracy and the elite.
He said: “The research shows the rich and powerful sucking up
taxpayer’s money through housing benefit. This is made possible by
out-of-control rents and a lack of affordable and council homes that
so many hard-working people and their families desperately need”.
“This should bring both shame and action from this government to end
this exploitation of public money. These billions going into fat cat’s
wallets and offshore tax havens would be better spent building houses
and homes for real working people”.
Construction union Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy seconded the
call. He said: “This demonstrates who the real benefit scroungers are
– they are the rich parasites feeding off the misery of people in poor
and in adequate housing”
“The solution is to reinvest in council housing so the market for
overpriced privately rented property is dramatically reduced”
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