The hard right Ukip regularly claims that benefit claimants are a problem. But it seems they aren’t such a problem if there’s a money to be made.
Ukip’s housing spokesperson is multi-millionaire landlord and ex-Tory Andrew Charalambous.
His firm Woodlands Estates has grabbed £745,351 in housing benefit from tenants. It’s more than any other private landlord has pocketed.
And the real figure is higher because this doesn’t include benefit that the council paid to tenants before they passed the money to Woodlands.
Ukip, the Tories and the bosses like to claim that Britain is full of lazy scroungers living off a generous welfare system. But they are the ones who are cashing in.
A quarter of Tory MPs are landlords, according to research published in October 2012.
It seems the average MP’s salary of £66,396—plus expenses, subsidised restaurants and so on—just isn’t enough to scrape by on.
No wonder the Pricedout group found that 83 out of 305 Tory MPs were “supplementing their income” by renting out homes.
And the Royals are benefiting too.
Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall Estate has raked in at least £111,000 from a range of councils providing housing benefit to tenants.
But the Daily Mirror newspaper pointed out that the real figure could be higher as several councils didn’t give full figures.
Bank boss busts the ban on bumper bonuses
Speaking of rich parasites, HSBC bank has figured out a way of getting around the EU bonus cap.
Bank boss Stuart Gulliver will grab a £1.7 million “fixed pay allowance” on top of his £1.2 million salary.
The cap says bonuses can’t be more than salary.
Get rid of poverty, Tory-style
Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith has hit on an ingenious way of cutting child poverty.
He is going to change its definition.
Children who live in families with less than 60 percent of median household income are defined as living in poverty.
Duncan Smith wants to replace this with a more “sophisticated” set of measures that look at things such as parents’ drinking habits.
A draft strategy to cutting child poverty was leaked to the press last weekend.
It included things such as promoting credit unions—and excluded raising wages or benefits.
The benefits of rebranding
The government could rebrand National Insurance as Earnings Tax.
The move is part of the Tories’ war on welfare.
They hate the fact that national insurance goes towards benefits such as a state pension.
Calling it a “tax” makes it sound negative.
A weight off Osborne's shoulders
Apparently Tory chancellor George Osborne is trying to lose weight with the so-called 5:2 diet.
This involves eating very little for two days then eating more the rest of the time.
Troublemaker has a much simpler suggestion for how Osborne could lose about a stone within seconds.
And all he needs is a guillotine.
Bosses are on the warpath over “red tape”.
The Business for Britain lobby group is demanding that David Cameron slash European Union regulations that it claims “cost” firms £6.6 billion a year.
Business for Britain’s Matthew Elliott threatened, “With business costs rising as a result of the treaty, it is inevitable consumers will end up suffering higher prices and less affordability.”
Some of these “costly” rules involve measures to tackle climate change. But the bosses’ report whined that the benefits of the measures “are, very often, not felt by British business”.
Pollution is a growing problem. But there’s an upside.
It turns out the queen is living in the most polluted street in Britain.
Grosvenor Place, which runs behind Buckingham Palace, has the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide.
Around 30,000 people die prematurely from air pollution in Britain every year.
Gender is confusing for Littlejohn
Facebook’s decision to expand its gender options brought a predictable response from Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn.
Facebook users can now choose from more options than simply “male” or “female”. For Littlejohn this is bad—apparently because he doesn’t understand the choices.
One had him asking if it was “something to do with Red Indians”. He declared another referred to “someone who enjoys sex with pandas”.
Pity Facebook doesn’t yet have a category for “ignorant bigot”. There’s still time, though.