GMB Experts in the World of Work
Join GMB today
 Follow @GMB_union

14 Torbay Landlords Get £2.78m Housing Benefits

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

GMB Ask Torbay Council To Name 14 Private Landlords Who Received £2.78m Taxpayers Cash For Rents Of Properties They Own

Data Protection Act safeguards private information regarding individuals but it provides no such protection on information in their capacity as sole traders says GMB.

GMB is calling on Torbay Council to name 14 private landlords that received a total of £2.78m direct from taxpayers in housing benefit in 2012/13.

In Torbay there are a total of 13,696 dwellings owed by private landlords rented to tenants. Households in 9,776 dwellings, or 71.4% of the total, are in receipt of housing benefits. See notes to editors for comparable data for the region. Of these 9,776 households in Torbay there are 3,655 households or 37.4% where the rents are paid direct to the landlords by the council.

GMB submitted a Freedom of Information request on 2 December 2013 asking Torbay Council to name the top 20 private landlords receiving housing benefit direct for these 3,655 dwellings.

Torbay redacted 14 of the 20 names that were individual landlords claiming they had a right to privacy under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.

Overall Torbay revealed that the top 20 private landlords received over £3.6m for the 2012/13 financial year.  Of that £2.78m or 76.8% of the total revealed was going to sole traders and individual buy-to-let landlords whose names have been redacted.  The information provided is set out in the table below.

The top two in the list are persons or sole traders that have had their name redacted. The first received £1,060,450 in Housing Benefit payments paid directly from Torbay Council with the second receiving £301,430. Of the others, 8 received over £100,000 getting between £105,781 and £178,827 of public money.

GMB has now asked Torbay for a formal internal review of this decision to redact names. GMB say it is in the public interest that the names of the sole traders and buy-to-let landlords, operating in a business capacity be named by Torbay Council. GMB say that there is a legitimate public interest in the disclosure of this information and that disclosure is fair.

Torbay

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£1,060,450

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£301,430

Cosy Lettings (Paignton)

£202,158

Group Mac Holdings

£197,010

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£178,827

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£162,199

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£146,004

PHA Limited

£135,910

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£131,947

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£121,348

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£120,209

Mercer Properties Ltd.

£115,404

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£114,296

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£105,781

Enoch Properties (Devon) Ltd

£104,317

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£95,410

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£84,117

Skye Lettings

£83,868

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£82,372

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

£79,193

John Philips, GMB Regional Secretary, said “GMB has requested a formal internal review by Torbay Council. GMB is asking them to name the landlords getting a whopping £2.78m of taxpayer’s cash.

The Data Protection Act safeguards private information regarding individuals. However it provides no such protection on information in their capacity as sole traders.

The council has a duty to the public on transparency and they should names the 14 sole traders renting houses they own where the rent being paid direct by taxpayers.

GMB’s aim in all this is to secure a fundamental change in policy on funding social housing. This is not a new stance by the union.

Mrs Thatcher changed the labour movement traditional policy of spending money on bricks to spending the money on rents. Since then some £411 billion public funds has been spent on rents. It would be far cheaper to build social houses for rent and stop this money lining the pockets of the already wealthy.

The labour movement secured a law in 1907 to allow councils to build houses for rent. This was reversed in the 1980s. 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. The figure may be at least £3 billion per annum and is growing.”

End

Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB National Equality & Inclusion Officer on 07956 237178 or Stuart Fegan Regional Officer 07912 890434 or Mike Payne Regional Officer 07980 753124 or Cath Speight, GMB National Political Officer on 07505 711925.

Notes to editors

South West Table on number of private rented households ranked by % of private rented households in receipt of housing benefit.

 

 

All private rented households

Housing benefit recipients in the private rented sector

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Britain

4,195,070

1,645,504

39.2

 

England and Wales

3,900,178

1,548,342

39.7

 

 

 

 

 

rank

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

1

Torbay UA

13,696

9,776

71.4

2

Weymouth and Portland

5,073

3,137

61.8

3

Torridge

4,746

2,635

55.5

4

Cornwall UA

38,605

21,152

54.8

5

Christchurch

2,321

1,248

53.8

6

Gloucester

8,755

4,307

49.2

7

Teignbridge

8,358

4,109

49.2

8

Sedgemoor

7,113

3,478

48.9

9

North Somerset UA

14,270

6,955

48.7

10

West Somerset

2,510

1,220

48.6

11

Bournemouth UA

24,685

11,424

46.3

12

North Devon

7,341

3,375

46.0

13

Plymouth UA

22,026

10,104

45.9

14

Forest of Dean

3,835

1,749

45.6

15

West Devon

3,409

1,515

44.4

16

Poole UA

10,275

4,547

44.3

17

East Dorset

3,471

1,500

43.2

18

East Devon

8,041

3,361

41.8

19

Mid Devon

5,091

1,883

37.0

20

Purbeck

3,005

1,107

36.8

21

Mendip

7,136

2,540

35.6

22

South Hams

5,259

1,831

34.8

23

Taunton Deane

7,227

2,506

34.7

24

South Somerset

9,272

3,128

33.7

25

Stroud

5,791

1,931

33.3

26

Swindon UA

14,169

4,661

32.9

27

Bristol, City of UA

43,028

13,570

31.5

28

South Gloucestershire UA

14,600

4,492

30.8

29

West Dorset

6,093

1,874

30.8

30

Exeter

10,336

3,141

30.4

31

Tewkesbury

4,351

1,311

30.1

32

Bath and North East Somerset UA

12,447

3,097

24.9

33

Wiltshire UA

29,968

7,367

24.6

34

North Dorset

4,094

957

23.4

35

Cheltenham

10,925

2,543

23.3

36

Cotswold

5,518

1,137

20.6

 

       

 

1.  Recipients are as at the second Thursday of the month.

 

 

2.  Components may not sum to total due to (i) independent rounding (ii) exclusion of unknown and other small categories.

 

     

 

 

Source: https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

 

 

 

Source: Census of Population data from Nomis, table QS405EW - Tenure - Households

Share this page
+1