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Name Landlords Paid £9 Billion Public Money

Friday, April 4, 2014

GMB Seeks Ruling From ICO That Councils Must Reveal Names Of Sole Trader Landlords Paid Over £138m Direct In Housing Benefits In 2012/13

£9 billion per year funding stream fueling “buy to let” empires and promoting inequality should be changed to fund building for those in need of accommodation says GMB

GMB is seeking a ruling from the Information Commissioners Office that local councils must reveal the names of the top 20 sole trader landlords who between them were directly paid over £14m in housing benefits in 2012/13.  The table below shows the top 20 sole traders by council and the amounts they are getting where information has been redacted.

GMB put in FOI requests all of the 380 councils in Great Britain for information the top 20 landlords getting housing benefit direct from each council. See notes to editors for some high profile recipients and see pdf on GMB website for details who top 20 in each council are.

When councils replied the names of the recipients of over £138.5m paid from public money were redacted. GMB wants the ICO to rule that there is legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information and that disclosure is fair.

Taxpayer’s cash pays the rent to private landlords for 1.65 million privately owned dwelling in Great Britain. That is 39% of all privately owned rented dwellings.

In an Information Commissioners Office Data Protection Good Practice Note on ‘The use and disclosure of information about business people’ it is stated that:

Information about people acting only in a business capacity should be treated differently to information about their private lives. This is because running a business is, in the main, a public activity and business people cannot expect the same degree of privacy in relation to their business activities as they can in their private lives.

The information GMB is requesting is about these individuals in a business capacity and not information related to activities carried out in a personal or private capacity.

Data Protection Good Practice Note also states that ‘The Act should not be applied in an unnecessarily restrictive way’

Transparency is a key requirement of the Act. Local Authorities should make business people aware of how information about them will be used or shared. Sharing of this information should not cause, nor is likely to cause, ‘substantial, unwarranted damage or distress, then the processing may go ahead despite an individual’s objection to it’’

Top 20 sole traders by district and the amounts they are getting where information has been redacted.

1

Hammersmith and Fulham

£1,169,926

2

Ealing

£1,083,964

3

Torbay

£1,060,450

4

Liverpool

£1,002,309

5

Medway

£992,338

6

Hartlepool

£957,912

7

Redbridge

£754,683

8

Milton Keynes

£656,569

9

Haringey

£630,037

10

Bristol

£601,980

11

Coventry

£593,153

12

Wirral

£581,158

13

Braintree

£520,426

14

Tendring

£515,621

15

Tendring

£507,302

16

Blackpool

£504,761

17

Brent

£483,328

18

Tendring

£478,012

19

Southampton

£474,769

20

Barnet

£474,302

 

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “ GMB has pointed out that councils redacting information cuts across the approach of the ICO that information that relates to an individual in their professional capacity will be subject to a significantly lower expectation of privacy than information concerning their private life.

GMB agree with the Commissioner position that there is a public interest in the scrutiny of how public money is spent. We agree too that transparency of decisions on how public funds are spent will also generate confidence in the integrity of the procedures involved. The sum of money involved in housing benefits is massive and there is public interest in disclosing this information.

GMB is aiming to secure a fundamental change in policy on funding social housing. This is not a new stance by the union. We want private sector middlemen cut out of housing provision.

Mrs Thatcher's Government changed the labour movement traditional policy of spending money on bricks to spending the money on rents. Since then, £411 billion of public funds has been spent on rents. It would be far cheaper to build social houses for rent and stop at least £9 billion a year this money lining the pockets of the already wealthy. We have no idea if they are paying taxes on this income.

John Burn’s 1907 law to allow councils to build houses for rent was reversed in the 1980s. GMB consider that this was a serious policy mistake and the cost to the public purse is now becoming apparent.

The growth in "buy to let" empires funded by the policy is heaping additional costs on the Exchequer. GMB want to see this funding stream fueling “buy to let” empires replaced with a system directly benefiting those in need of social housing. 

GMB is also seriously concerned about the money spent on rents, rather than bricks and mortar, is fuelling the growth in inequality in our society.”

End

Contact Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237178 or Gary Doolan 07852 182358 or Cath Speight 07505 711925 or Lisa Johnson 07900 392228

Notes to editors

Some organizations receiving large sums across the country are as follows:

·      Jomast Property / John Monk & Co – Over £210,000 in the North East. Owner Stuart Monk equal 554th on the Sunday Times Rich List with wealth estimated at £147m. Developed Hartlepool Marina.

·      Stockton Flats - Over £1.7m in total from councils in North East, North West and North Yorkshire.

·      European Wellcare Lifestyles Ltd  - Part of European Care Group. Parent company Esquire Group Investment (Holdings) Ltd based in the British Virgin Islands as are another 5 companies within the group. 4 other group companies are based in Guernsey.

·      Grainger Residential Management / PHA Ltd / Grip Nomco 1 & 2 - £1.2m across 16 districts. Part of Grainger PLC with fixed assets of £618m, current assets of £1bn and turnover of £283m. In 2013 own 13,353 units with a market value of £1.8bn. They manage 8,216 units with market value of £953m.

·      Associated Property Owners Ltd – £89,000. Directors are Lady Diana Errington, Robin Errington, Anne Errington, David Errington, Stuart Errington and William Saville. Directors of the parent company, Associated Property Holdings Ltd, include Sir Geoffrey Errington (2nd Baronet Errington, of Ness).

·      Northwood - National lettings Agency getting over £2.3m nationally.

·      Blackshaw Holdings – £442,000. Owner, John Brooksbank, on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth estimated at £100m.

·      Martin & Co - Letting Agents, £3.1m from 20 districts nationally.

·      Chatsworth Trust - £10,000

·      LHT Enterprise - £8,800 from Craven. Michael Bannister, owner of Coniston Hall and the Boundary Mill chain.

·      Mountview Estates Plc - Duncan Sinclair, 901st on Sunday Times rich list worth £87m. £300,000 from 9 districts

·      Buckminster Trust Estate – Sir Lyonel Tollemache donor to the Tory party. Buckminster is a country estate in Leicestershire. £37,000.

·      Compton Estates – Castle Ashby Estate, seat of Lord Northampton, Spencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton. One of Britain’s wealthiest aristocrats, =766th on Sunday Times rich list with estimated wealth of £103m. £21,000.

·      Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust Ltd – owner of Grimsthorpe Castle is Baroness Jane Willoughby De Eresby, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ancaster and grand daughter of Nancy Astor. Inherited Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire and Drummond Castle in Perthshire. £19,000

·      Cecil Estate Family Trust - £17,000

·      Burghley House Pres. Trust Ltd - £9,000

·      Penk Holdings Ltd – Directors Alan and Joanna Monckton of Horsebrook Hall, Stafford (former High Sheriff of Staffordshire) and Piers Monckton of Stretton Hall, Stafford. £12,000

·      ADA Glossop / Glossop Caravans - £1.1m across 15 districts nationally.

·      Marquess of Hertford - £15,000 from Stratford. Henry Seymour’s country estate is Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.

·      Thorney Bay Park Ltd - £1.45m from Castle Point. Donated £3,000 to conservatives in 2001.

·      Cadogan Estates Ltd - Charles G Cadogan, 8th Earl Cadogan, 18th on Sunday Times Rich list (£3,675m) and Tory donor. £116,000

·      Grosvenor Estate Belgravia - Part of Grovenor Group. Fixed assets of £4,272,300,000. Headed by the Duke of Westminster who is in the Sunday Times Rich list as 8th richest person in Britain with wealth estimated at £7.8bn. £243,000

·      Lazari Investments Ltd – Chris Lazari is 101st on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth estimated at 858m. £200,000

·      Woodlands Estates – Owned by Andrew Charalambous, UKIP housing spokesman. £0.7m

·      Caridon Property - £2.6m across 9 London Boroughs

·      Cowdray Estate / Paddockhurst Estate - £118,000. Viscount Cowdray listed on the Sunday Times rich list in =224th place with wealth estimated at £400m. The family firm is the Pearson Media Group and he the family seat is Cowdray Park in West Sussex.

·      Southwick Estates - £39,000 from Winchester. A 7,000 acre private estate which owns nearly all of the village of Southwick. Owned by the Thistlethwayte family.

·      Englefield Estate / Gerald Palmer Eling Trust – Owned by conservative MP, Richard Benyon. His family are =713th on the Sunday Times rich list with wealth of £110m. He is one of the wealthiest MPs in Parliament. The family seat is Englefield House and 20,000 acre Estate in Berkshire. £626,000

·      Yattendon Estates - £195,000 from West Berkshire. Lord Robert Iliffe =333rd on the Sunday Times rich list with wealth of £245m. Yattendon is a 9,000 acre estate in West Berkshire

·      Patricroft Investments - £49,000 from Worthing. Company is based in Gibralter.

·      Allsop Residential Investment Management Ltd – one of the partners is Timothy Theakston, one of the Theakston Brewery brothers. £137,000 from Brighton & Hove

·      HRH Estates Company - £349,000 from Medway

·      Sir Richard Sutton’s Settled Estates – Sir Richard Sutton, 9th Baronet, =522nd on the Sunday Times rich list with wealth of £150m. £68,000 from West Berkshire.

·      Blackmoor Estate Ltd - £18,000 from East Hampshire. Owned by the Earl and Countess of Selborne. Earl Selborne is a conservative hereditary peer.

·      Knepp Castle Estate Office - £15,000 from Horsham. A 3,500 acre Estate in West Sussex owned by Sir Charles Burrell, 10th Baronet. Owner of Knepp Castle.

·      Viscount Asquith Estate - £17,000 from Mendip.

·      Morden Estates - £14,000 from Purbeck. Owned by Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, conservative MP for South Dorset. Family seat is Charborough House in Dorset.

·      Powis Castle Estates - £34,000 from Powys. Owned by John Herbert, 8th Earl of Powis

·      Hawarden Estate – Sir Erskine ‘William’ Gladstone, 7th Baronet, owner of Hawarden Castle in Flintshire. £43,000 from Flintshire.

·      Strathmore Estates Holding Ltd - Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the Queens cousin and owner of Glamis Castle £11,500 from Angus.

·      Moray Estates Development Company - Earl of Moray, owner of Darnaway Castle. £10,000 from Moray.

·      Argyll Estates - £126,000 from Argyll and Bute. 50,000 acre estate including Inveraray Castle, home to Torquhil Campbell, the Duke of Argyll.

·      Wemyss Properties Ltd – Owned by William Wemyss, part of a Scottish business dynasty which includes property, whisky and gin production and energy production. £141,000 from Fife.

·      Haddo Estate - £42,000 from Aberdeenshire. Owned by the Marquess and Marchioness of Aberdeen.

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