Labour Councillor calls for Council House Building as GMB report highlights Landlord windfall from housing benefit payouts.

Cllr Graham Granter (Fairfax)
Cllr Graham Granter “we should have a plan where we can build our own council house stock”

Billions going into fat cats wallets and off shore tax havens from housing benefit would be better spent building houses and homes for working people says the GMB Union in a new study, published this week which shows the top twenty company landlords in each of the 36 councils in South West England that receive housing benefit direct from councils for tenants renting their properties. Details, where disclosed, for the top twenty landlords ranked by the amounts they received by council are set out in the pdf attached for all 36 Councils in South West and for all councils in Great Britain.

In the region there are 154,663 households renting private accommodation and entitled to housing benefit. This study covers where it is paid direct to company landlords not private individual landlords. See notes to editors for councils in the region for the latest available figures for the number of private rented households and the number and % of housing benefit recipients in the private rented sector.

 Some firms receiving large sums in South West are as follows:

Grainger Residential Management / PHA Ltd / Grip Nomco 1 & 2 / Grainger GenInvest LLP- £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. Nearly 20% of company held by main shareholder Schroder Investment Management Ltd. £12,000 from South Hams and £136,000 from Torbay.

ADA Glossop / Glossop Caravans – £1.1m across 15 districts nationally. £103,000 from South Gloucestershire.

Northwood – National lettings Agency getting over £2.3m nationally including £91,000 from Bournemouth.

Scoperule Ltd – British, Canadian and American investors run by the Frankel family. £87,000 from Bournemouth.

Barford Settled Estate – £70,000 from Wiltshire

Martin & Co – Letting Agents, £3.1m from 20 districts nationally. £61,000 from Poole.

Crown Estate Commissioners / Duchy of Cornwall – £39,000 from West Somerset and £24,000 from the Isles of Scilly.

Manor of Wareham / Rempstone Estate – James Ryder, Chairman Wareham and Sandford Conservatives and owner of Rempstone Hall. £44,000 from Purbeck.

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.

Taxpayer’s cash pays the rent to private landlords for 1.65 m privately owned dwelling in Great Britain. Paying housing benefits to meet housing costs for rented accommodation for tenants on low incomes dates the 1980s. The cost has ballooned to £23 billion per year. While over the past 30 years some £411billions of taxpayer’s funds have been spent on housing benefit it is not clear who the ultimate recipients are.

For 30% of tenants entitled to housing benefit the cash is paid direct to landlords. To establish the identity of these landlords GMB carried out research at the Land Registry to establish the beneficial owners of properties and Freedom of Information requests were made to councils to establish the amounts paid to them. The ultimate recipients of housing benefit and amounts were disclosed by councils where the landlords are companies. The ultimate recipients of housing benefit and amounts were not disclosed where the monies are paid to tenants or where landlords are individuals. 69 councils refused to disclose any information. GMB is inviting local media and politicians to follow up on the study and fill in the gaps.

‘Tax payers subsidising buy-to-let empires’


paul kenny gmb
Paul Kenny GMB “It’s the rich and powerful sucking up taxpayer’s money through housing benefit”

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 where the money ends up tax free in tax havens.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 cats wallets and off shore tax havens would be better spent building houses and homes for real working people. Shovelling millions of pounds to the likes of castle owning barons, whilst so many either wait for a home or have to pay exorbitant rents, is a public scandal. It is also bad economics for the nation” See at foot of the national release on GMB website a pdf with names of some castle owning barons, the amount they receive and pictures of the castles.It is disgraceful that 69 councils refused to reveal the companies they paid huge sums to. Every council has refused to disclose the names of private landlords they pay huge sums to without scrutiny.”

Let’s build our own council homes

Bridgwater Labour councillor Graham Granter said “This GMB report highlights the facts regarding the amounts that are being paid to already wealthy landlords. Instead of this we should have a plan where we can build our own council house stock. We would at least own the properties instead of the monies that are being paid to private sector , which is clearly a great deal of money, and unfortunately the council do not own any of the properties. i think that is bad housekeeping.”


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David Taylor
David Taylor
10 years ago

What a truly dreadful Government, so quick to punish the weakest and poorest sections of our society and yet so slow to act against the ruthless greed of the rich.

The crisis in the economy wasn’t caused by the amount we spend on benefits but by allowing the greed of the ruling class to run wild from those benefits.

A healthy, progressive society protects the weakest, poorest elements not attacks them. How far we have fallen under 30 years of Thatcherism and neo Liberalism.

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