Greedy private landlords are raking in billions of pounds of public money in housing benefits payments, new research shows.
Freedom of Information Requests by the GMB union reveal that private landlords received more than £9.2bn from housing benefit in 2013/14.
GMB says this abuse of Britain’s welfare system has been allowed to go on for far too long. Millionaire landlords are exploiting low-income families in need of housing and who could otherwise be left homeless.
There are 4.2 million households living in private rented accommodation in Britain. 1.59 million of these (38%) pay part or all of their rent using housing benefit.
More people now rent privately than from councils and housing associations. The switch away from cheaper social housing to the more expensive private sector has resulted in an increase in private tenants claiming housing benefit.
The Conservatives have pledged to open up social housing to buy-to-let private landlords. This could reduce an already dwindling social housing stock and further increase the housing benefit bill.
GMB has named and shamed twenty private landlords abusing Britain’s welfare system. These include:
- Private landlord Mr Mohammed Taj was paid £3,219,858 of taxpayer’s money direct as housing benefits by Watford in 2013/14.
- Investing Solutions Ltd was paid £2,239,915 by Merton, Brent, Lambeth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Wandsworth councils.
- Thorney Bay Park Ltd was paid £1,924,226 by Castle Point council in 2013/14.
- Mr Alastair Kerr was paid £1,616,951 by Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Hounslow in 2013/14.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said: “This research lifts the lid on the mainly secret payments to landlords who are the real winners from Britain’s welfare system.
“We see taxpayers cash subsidising buy-to-let empires with £9.2 billion of hard earned taxpayer’s cash paid into private landlords’ bank accounts – much of it ending up in tax havens.
“The abuse of housing benefit by private landlords has gone on for too long.
“Millionaires take sackloads of cash for exploiting those in housing need or stuck on low pay. It’s incredible that the Tories want to extend this billions pound rip off.
“It’s time to close the offshore tax dodgers charter, cap rents and use the billions being sucked up by property speculator landlords to build affordable homes for people again.”
Last edited at 3:03am on 29 April 2015 to correct a monetary error.