Distraught Families Face Eviction as Britain’s Richest Tory MP Buys Up Their Homes and Hikes Rents

A006 - CopyAround 90 households in The New Era estate in Hoxton, London have been snapped up by Tory MP Richard Benyon’s £110million family firm, which promptly announced plans for a massive rent hike.  The residents, now unable to meet the rent – face eviction.

The Benyon Scam

A006The New Era Estate, in Hoxton, has a long history of providing affordable housing and has been home to some people for 70 years.

While soaring house prices have driven o­rdinary families out of vast swathes of the UK – particularly the capital where the average price of a home rocketed by 18.5% last year – these residents have been able to shelter from the profiteering that had created this wealth-based exodus.

But now, tenants of the East London estate are braced for Benyons’ plan to charge “market rents” – this will treble their bills.

Distraught Debra Cox, 49, who has lived there for 18 years, said:

“This is social cleansing – this has always been a form of social housing and they just want rid of us.

“I have been to the council and was told we don’t have a chance of being rehoused.”

Benyon is a prime example of the revolving door of complicity in the UK’s housing and debt crisis. While slamming welfare, Benyon makes £625k a year from Housing Benefit paid to tenants in his over priced properties.

As Eileen Short, of Defend Council Housing, puts it:

“How dare Richard Benyon lecture us about ‘something for nothing’ when he is living off the poorest and milking taxpayers all the way to the bank?

“It’s not tenants who gain from housing benefit, but some of the richest people in Britain. They get richer at our expense – and blame us while they’re at it.”

But Benyon is playing the same game as the majority of the Tory-led coalition.
The House of Landlords
An independent study conducted by Pricedout in 2012, found that a quarter of Tory MP’s are private landlords, as are 15% of Liberal Democrats, and 12.5% of Labour.

‘Not only do MPs enjoy taxpayer-funded second homes, many of them also have a portfolio of rented houses too,’ said Katy John, a spokesperson for Pricedout. ‘Many first-time buyers are trapped in the private rented sector, 94 per cent of whom would like to buy their own home.

‘Tenants in this country face some of the worst levels of housing security in Europe. First-time buyers desperately need house prices to fall to more affordable levels, but landlord MPs at the very top of the property ladder have a vested interest to not let this happen.’

It should come as little surprise that a House full of Landlords continues to resist policies such as rent controls, or an expansion of social housing -which would directly threaten their personal financial interests.

Meanwhile, a Housing Crisis of ever magnified proportions is playing out across the country.

Britain’s Housing Crisis

B001The Right To Buy Scheme came into effect in 1980, and gave council tenants who’d lived in their homes for more than three years the right to buy them at a 33% discount. Those who had lived in their council homes for more than twenty years received a 50% discount.  The scheme was wildly popular, Labour dropped its official opposition to the scheme in 1985 and by 2003 more than 1.5 million council houses become privately owned.

In 1979, the Labour governments of Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan had expanded social housing to 31% of the population, but also left Thatcher a Britain where home ownership had risen to 56.6%. By the time she left office it was 67%, and by 2003 it peaked at 70.9%.  Since then however, the figure has plummeted and now stands at the same levels as it was in 1987 (65.3%).

The following decades of defunct housing policy has left the UK with a housing shortage crisis. Every government since refused to put the proceeds of these sales into the building of new social housing – the housing stock declined and Britain reverted back to the playground of the property class.

More than a third of ex council houses now sit in the property portfolios of wealthy landlords.  In fact, the son of Thatcher’s Housing Minister at the time the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme was launched is now the proud owner of no less than forty ex council houses.

The consequent boom in house prices means they are now 300% higher (in real terms) than in 1959.  If the price of a dozen eggs had risen as quickly, they would now cost £19.

The restriction on social housing has seen a boom in the private rented sector, which now constitutes 20% of the total housing market, versus 10% just ten years ago.  This has seen private rents across the UK rise by an average of 37% in just the last three years.

The end game for those who cannot find work, and cannot find shelter, is that they join the ranks of the homeless.  There are two types of recognised homelessness in the UK:

Statutory Homelessness[1]: These are people deemed eligible for support in finding temporary accommodation funded by their local authority if they find themselves unable to keep a roof over their head. A person needs to be eligible for public funds, have a local connection, prove they are unintentionally homeless and demonstrate they are a ‘priority need’ to qualify.  Despite the gauntlet one has to run to join this list, number still rose by 21% in England and 17% in Wales in 2012[2].

Rough Sleeping: This group is formed of all those excluded from the list above, and is very hard to quantify.  These numbers have risen even faster, at 31% in England.  Homeless Charity Crisis claims numbers could be even higher though.  Outreach workers in London performed a count which found a 62% rise in rough sleepers in the capital in just two years[3].

The government has launched no significant programmes to take action on this issue.  Quite the opposite:

  • 4,000 bed spaces have been lost in cuts to housing support services
  • In a recent survey by Homeless Link, nearly half of all homeless services reported budget cuts of an average 17%

Instead, they have chosen to criminalise homelessness through new anti-squatting legislation. In 2012/3, the UK Parliament passed legislation which made it possible for the police to immediately evict anyone found squatting.  Since then, there have been 33 arrests, leading to ten convictions and three prison sentences.  None of these court cases involved squatters displacing existing tenants, all of the properties involved were completely empty.

We Don’t Lack Solutions, We Lack Advocates

A008The increasing rents are entirely arbitrary and purely the outcome of a housing market tilted towards landlords – council house rents are not cheaper because they are subsidised, they are cheaper because the Council’s are not adding a profit premium on top.

The answer is simple – build more social housing, and in the mean time, impose rent controls.

This will have a negative impact on property speculation – and so it should.

Instead, the country is ruled by the property-owning class, creating a neo-feudal system in the UK – with 93% of new Housing Benefit claims filed by people in work, but who’s wages fail to cover the extortionate rents.  By continuing to resist action on rent hikes – while hiking rents themselves – MPs are able to help themselves to a large chunk of the nearly £17bn a year of public money spent on Housing Benefit.

In short, we can afford to build more houses and most of us would save money and generate more economic activity if rents were lowered – but many of those charged with making those decisions, would lose out personally.

We don’t lack solutions, we lack advocates.


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11 thoughts on “Distraught Families Face Eviction as Britain’s Richest Tory MP Buys Up Their Homes and Hikes Rents

  1. Whilst Ganster to judges have become Landlords,use different names to buy up homes Ex council houses,pubs Clubs,are protected by law,the tenants are suffering the Consequences of it,I’ve had 7 eviction attempts,for not cutting my grass,not letting gas suply fitters into my home,my electric and gas bills given a debt on pre pay meters,boosting up debts I’ve never had before,rents gone up three times,blamed for a burglary I didn’t do,arrested 23 times,based on false allegations,people watching my home,and I’m disabled,yes I do believe some landlords are freemasons,part of the Abusive government we have,But when you fight back they cants stand it. https://neilscott1.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/teesside-mp-deal-with-it-now-or-implicate-yourself/

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  3. Boo hiss.. down with those those nasty Tories – the horrible villains with their plummy accents, cravats and pin-stripe suits. Each and everyone is at least a gazillionaire!! But wait, here comes a man in a flat cap with a whippet!! Hiphip hooray it’s Labour – the party for the common people!! Salt of the Earth each and everyone of them. They all went to comps and never ‘ad a penny to rub together when they woz growing up… just like the rest of us!!!!

    Pure pantomime and you lot are sucked in by it time after time. It must be so much simpler living in your world of black and white where you never need to see the shades in between which is reality.

  4. Pingback: Britain’s House of Lords Addresses Homelessness | JUST DEFIANCE – Gunai Indigenous Outlaw

  5. No surprises here!

    While this fallacy of ‘monarchy’ remains, waged-slavery, Folks’ struggle for incomes against their brethren, and homelessness for the ‘lesser’ tribes will always exist.

    It’s mainly because of two or three things that the British are so apathetic to this bottomline crime of private landlords ‘lording it’ over the majority.

    The stupid belief in a central monarch; christianity the campaign winner there, and the fallacy that England, or Britain, or ‘the Brutish umpire’, is ‘Democratic’.

    O! And the sad truth about descendants of their plundering colonialists still living off the wealth they stole from the rest of the world [120 TONS of pure gold stolen from my Ancestors’ Country, Gippsland, Victoria, Astrayliar.]

    While christianity remains, and so many are bought off by it’s clergy,

    1, for a place to live in, and on land, belonging to THE PEOPLE, and

    2, to keep allowing religions to avoid tax – the vent through which they can also control taxation laws, to being untrue, evil tax laws,

    instead of the Most Honest Tax, of Land Tax,

    Britain’s more Honorable Folk, and all of us anywhere influenced by these ‘Lords of Sick’, and ambitious, quite quite insane wannabe ‘Lords of Sick’, the whole of the Common Weal, suffers, unto our, and the planet’s demise.

    Britain, a fine place, with wonderful people, while living above the rest, off the colonists’ plunder, must reform itself, preferably BEFORE their inaction [and ours, everywhere] lets these Lords of Sick totally destroy the Great Mum Eartha.

  6. buggers refuse point blank to allow my ‘right o buy’, been a tennant for 5 years….then the violence started, supposedly made myself homeless, stole all my money and papers and never recovered since. that was over 8 years ago, still homeless, still jobless, no papers so can’t do a damn thing…

  7. This sounds like the Old Nichol, the worst slum in late 19th Century Victorian London, in which one arm of my family lived for some time, until it was pulled down (or rather fell down because of its appallingly bad quality of construction). The rents paid by those who lived here, caught in the poverty trap, were amongst the highest per square foot of anywhere in London; the conditions were squalid and all the Landlords were well healed businessmen, clergy and even the odd MP I believe. So the leopards don’t change their spots, do they!

  8. Come on then, make a comment, moan like hell and then forget all about it and vote Tory like you always do, because you always have. What a fantastic way of getting a bunch of ass holes in power to change their ways. I’m sure it will work this time hay.

    • Rubbish. No one voted for the condems, they put themselves in power. No one voted them in. Do get your facts right, or sod off.

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