Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker

Issue No. 2451

The missing £9 billion housing benefit scam

Private landlords are grabbing a staggering £9 billion pounds every year in housing benefit.

And the Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that at least £3 billion of that money is spent on poor quality accommodation annually.

In some areas 70 percent of the homes don’t meet the government’s decent homes standard.

The GMB union said its research showed that the top 20 private landlords in Britain received between half a million pounds and £4.6 million in housing benefit in the 2013/14 financial year.

Alderley Property Ltd was paid £4,601,867 as housing benefits by Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme councils. Mohammed Taj was paid £3,219,858 by Watford council. 

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. 


Yes to expenses for wine, no to strikes

Peter Hendy, who describes himself as “London’s best-paid bus driver”, is commissioner for Transport for London.

A salary of £348,000 means the wolf is far from the door. 

On bus drivers he says, “We’ve just had a bus strike—it’s wholly political, nothing to do with pay and conditions. 

“If it was they would have got a lot more than 16 percent turnout. It’s all about influencing the Labour mayoral candidates to get them to say they’ll put it all back into public ownership.”

On the Tube workers he says, “We’ve had an RMT ballot about some bloke at Morden who was sacked for failing two alcohol tests. Well, we’ll take them on.”

On a £40 bottle of Pouilly-Fume on expenses he opines, “Someone went through my personal expenses.” He added, “Apparently a £43 bottle of wine is considered very expensive.”


Orgreave cop inquiry is a secret, sshh

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has finally decided whether to launch a full scale investigation into police misconduct during the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike.

But they won’t tell us what the decision is.

IPCC officials said they would only share their verdict with “some interested parties”—if they would agree to keep it confidential. 

This included selected members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign fighting for a Hillsborough-style inquiry.

Campaigners have rightly refused to accede to this gagging order.


Cops' gun will shoot off target if it's sunny

An assault rifle used by counter-terror police does not shoot straight when it gets hot.

The Heckler & Koch G36 is inaccurate by up to 20 feet at long range when temperatures top 30c leaked tests reveal.

The weapon also becomes unreliable when it is left in direct sunlight, exposed to humidity or fired repeatedly.

Britain's police forces have a total arsenal of up to 3,000. 

Another reason to keep the cops off our streets.


Buxton brands a Tube station

Transport for London and Buxton Water signed a “landmark” sponsorship deal which saw a Tube station branded.

Last Sunday Canada Water station became Buxton Water station to coincide with the London Marathon. 

Buxton Water held the role of the official water provider of the Virgin Money London Marathon.


Developer dosh for housing minister

Brandon Lewis became Tory housing minister in July last year. Last September he received a £2,000 donation from Patron Capital Advisors.

The firm’s portfolio of undeveloped sites stands at 12,690 plots with a potential value of £4.7 billion.

Brandon Lewis is against developers being stopped from speculative land banking. 


Toff of the week

Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster

  • Owns 300 acres in west London, centred on Belgravia and Mayfair
  • The company reported profits of £507 million in 2013 on its net assets of £3.45 billion 
  • The 63 year old Duke’s overall wealth rises £60 million this year to stand at £8.56 billion putting him among the ten richest in Britain

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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 28 Apr 2015, 15:56 BST
Issue No. 2451
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