Can you guess who these people are?

Thousands of wealthy professionals are living in taxpayer-subsidised council houses despite earning more £100,000 a year, official figures have disclosed.

Up to 5,000 people with six-figure salaries – including transport union boss Bob Crow – are enjoying the benefit of paying cheap rents for council homes or properties let by housing associations.

Analysis by the Department for Communities and Local Government suggests that these rich tenants, who are in the top 5 per cent of all earners, are subsidised by about £4,200 each a year through the low rents that they pay.

Councils and housing associations which provide homes to needy tenants in return for rents below the market rate usually require applicants to pass a means test before allocating them housing.

However, after they move in, tenants do not usually have to declare any subsequent increase in their income, particularly as there is no national set of rules governing social housing. It means some people can live in council houses for decades while enjoying significant salary rises.


Largely,
of course, they are the people who are part of the council housing allocation class. Those who are or have been councillors, on the housing associations themselves, the union leaders and the like.

Amazing how that happens really, isn’t it? Lee Jasper having a central London council house, Bob Crow, there’s an ex-Cabinet Minister (guess which party?), a Labour Peer (at least one). Those people who are part of the network that allocates valuable property get allocated valuable property.

Who would have thought it?

45 thoughts on “Can you guess who these people are?”

  1. Isn’t it a bit more likely that the two you name got council houses in the 1980s when they met the criteria, and council houses were a bit more plentiful ?

  2. By what definition is Bob Crow a professional, is there such a thing as a Chartered Union Boss?

    Wasn’t too long ago we were being told it was evil Tory voting old ladies living on their own in 4 bed houses who were stopping young families getting suitable housing. I note some councils prefer the status quo, thinking it is better to have Bob Crow as a role model for chavs than to house a family of six currently living in a Fiat Punto.

  3. “The potential for corruption is immense.”

    Mea culpa.

    My flat in one of the more desirable parts of London was the result of a few thousand in the direction of a Housing Association employee, couple decades ago. One of the best investments I’ve ever made.
    No. I don’t have it now, so don’t ask. Get your own

  4. “I expect Shelter will loudly condemn this. Soon. Possibly.”
    Way back in the late sixties, when Shelter was a couple guys in an office, there was a great deal of blurring with the squatting movement of the time. London Streeet Commune, the group who squatted 140 Piccadilly, springs to mind.
    Totally amazing how the cream of squatable properties tended to end up with those most vociferous in the cause of housing need. One, who landed a place in Belsize Park, was eventually bought out by a developer for six figures, having run a lucrative design business for years.

  5. As far as I know, Bob Crow actually owns various ex-council properties he’s bought to let with the money he saved in rent thanks to living in his own subsidised council property. Talk about having your cake and eating it…

  6. Pingback: Bosnia’s failed privatisations « Peter Risdon

  7. Alex, I think the article makes that point. While I do not believe, unlike RM, that there is a moral aspect to taxation, I’d argue that there is with respect to social housing given that the purpose of social housing is clearly to assist those who are unable to house themselves at commercial rents.

    When my parents got a council house in the mid-50s, my mother had been living in a homeless shelter with my two eldest siblings and my father had to live apart from them. I was born in that house and grew up in it for 18 years. Most of that time my father was a poorly paid warehouseman and my mother stayed at home doing work such as trimming shoe soles and sewing hot water tank liners (‘sleeves’). When we were old enough to look after ourselves after school (including the occasional fag and beer), my mother went out to work, eventually becoming a social worker. My father also got professional qualifications in purchasing and supply. Soon after I left they bought their first house. I don’t think they saw it as a moral choice, just something you do when your circumstances change for the better. I do think however, that thems what get paid a lot of doe for representing the workers might feel that it is appropriate to vacate a council house so that those at the bottom of the pile can have an opportunity.

  8. Gosh, Alex, whatever can have happened since the Eighties to make council housing ‘less plentiful’?

    Couldn’t have been uncontrolled mass immigration, could it?

  9. This week alone came the news that a housing officer faked documents to get council houses for his family, friends, and anyone prepared to hand over a brown envelope:

    A housing officer with a distinctively African name engaging in decidedly African practices. Whatever next?!

  10. JuliaM>

    No. I’m pretty sure I’ve explained to you before that that’s not the case. It has had no significant impact whatsoever.

    Anyone would think you were a racist/xenophobic monomaniac or something.

  11. ‘No significant impact’..?

    Anyone would think you were absolutely desperate to ignore the evidence of your own eyes, or something, Dave…

  12. Dave>

    The majority of London is now foreign born, and immigration has had no significant impact on housing availability?

    If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you…

  13. It’s always been corrupt: before there were Africans to be corrupt about it there were Irish, and Cockneys, and ………

  14. Rent payable for council houses could easily be indexed against income. All that’s needed is a regulation requiring each tenant to present their P60 certificate of tax and NI each April, and their rent premium for the past year could then be calculated according to a simple formula. Failure to submit the information could then be classed as false declaration, subject to prosecution.
    High earners would find themselves rather less devoted to their council house if it was going to cost them an extra say 30% of their income above the average wage.

  15. @ Dave, Julia etc
    The 2011 census counted 3.7 million people born overseas who had arrived since the 2001 census.
    Since they are not all living in tents and garden sheds they must have had some impact on the supply/demand balance for housing.
    Only a minority are living in social/council housing and that minority is not enough to cause the existence of the waiting list for social/council house (but they directly contribute, in small measure to it being longer than it would have been).
    The main impact has been to create a demand in excess of supply for housing in London, Aberdeen, south-east England generally and sundry other areas. This has resulted in house prices and rents rising until demand is reduced to the level of supply i.e. ordinary people cannot afford to be first-time buyers and enough youngsters have to give up renting and go home to live with their parents until demand for private rented property shrinks to equal supply. One effect of this is that far more people apply for social housing. Another is that fewer council tenants choose to move out and buy their own house. The *indirect* impact of immigration on the housing list is greater than the *direct* impact. This is not the fault of the immigrants – it is the fault of the stupid tax-and-benefits system which creates 5 million unemployed and draws in millions of immigrants to fill jobs that British people cannot afford to take.
    Dave – can you understand this?

  16. @”Only a minority are living in social/council housing and that minority is not enough to cause the existence of the waiting list for social/council house (but they directly contribute, in small measure to it being longer than it would have been).”
    How do you know that to be true? I very much doubt that the figures for number of immigrants who get council housing are true because
    a) lot of immigrants become British citizens and so will no
    longer be counted as immigrants getting a council house
    b) lots of council house tenants don’t say if they are an immigrant or not (see the link below)
    c) A lot of Government figures are wrong particularly when the error helps the narrative that the Government wants to say.
    d) Some council don’t report the figures, particularly ones in London
    http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/7.15

    @”This is not the fault of the immigrants”
    Yes and no. It is not the fault of legal immigrants – after all they probably assumed that we would build more homes if we were to let more people come here. It is the fault of illegal and people who lie to get asylum – they obtained the right to live here by deception.

  17. Oh, the usual nonsense being trotted out again. The immigrants are not having any significant effect on the London housing crisis, much the same way as the eighteenth Glastonbury-goer to drop a log on top of the heaping mound of paper and shit in a portaloo is not significantly contributing to the mountain or the stench.

    A large proportion of the immigrants have gone up North where the empty houses were. Conversely, London is full up because of the third-to-half the country’s population which has migrated down to the south from within the UK.

  18. I used to know someone who gave the example of her parents getting a council house back when they were piss-poor and still living in the same house decades later when her father was being paid £1000 per minute or thereabouts to pilot ships down the Suez. Once you get a council house, you’re allowed to keep it regardless of anything. Which is absurd.

    I personally don’t like it when someone like Bob Crow gets a council house on his salary, but — even if some corruption has occurred — no corruption is required. And, if you were in that situation, would you go out and blow most of your income on a mortgage when the state were still offering to be your landlord? It is, as usual, shitty incentives making people behave shittily.

  19. @”Dave
    February 17, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Oh, the usual nonsense being trotted out again. The immigrants are not having any significant effect on the London housing crisis”
    That was a detailed response proving that you are right and refuting the points others have made.
    I am convinced.

  20. Of course the funny thing is that the first person who told me that immigration was making prices rise in London was an immigrant who had been living in London for 6 months, in 1999.
    He didn’t know that he was being racist against himself.

  21. @ Dave
    I present facts – you present your imagination.
    A large proportion of those refugees who are awaiting confirmation of their status and temporarily classed as “asylum seekers” have been sent to occupy empty social housing in places like Glasgow. However since asylum seekers are a relative small minority of immigrants – less than 3% of annual inflow according to the Red Cross, cumulative total 0.2m according to IRR – this large proportion is a trivial percentage of total immigration.
    Statistical analysis has shown that the number of immigrants in each local area except London is negatively correlated with unemployment (immigrants go where there are jobs so this is “knock me down with a feather stuff”).
    The number of London residents born overseas increased by just over 1 million to 37% of the total between 2001 and 2011
    May I suggest that you read the LSE study http://www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/research/London/pdf/theImpactofRecentImmigrationOnTheLondonEconomy.pdf
    which goes into the subject in depth? Admittedly it covers the position in 2006 but it is thorough.
    “How do you know that is true?”
    Well i) because a large proportion of council tenants have lived in the same house since before the mass immigration of the past 16 years – some have inherited the tenancy from parents and/or grandparents – so there are just not enough social housing vacancies occurring each year to accommodate a significant percentage of immigrants. Even if you assume people are lying about the share of new social lettings going to immigrants, the share cannot be more than 100%.

  22. @john77
    I put a link to a report looking at housing and new council tenants and you accuse me “you present your imagination.”?
    The report wasn’t written by me.
    Did you look at this link?
    http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/7.15
    This
    @john77
    “Well i) because a large proportion of council tenants have lived in the same house since before the mass immigration of the past 16 years”
    Is irrelevant what is important is new lets.
    According to migration watch
    “In total only around 44% of new lets by local authorities include information on the nationality of the tenant.”
    Do you think this is untrue? If so why?
    @John 77″Admittedly it covers the position in 2006 but it is thorough.”
    It is rather a large paper to read. However it seems to miss somethings out. The cost of crime committed by immigrants. I wonder why, is it irrelevant. FWIW I believe some immigrant groups commit less crime than natives so it is beneficial for them to come here. Sadly I don’t have time to look up statistics for that.

  23. John>

    Who mentioned asylum seekers? It’s well known that e.g. Bradford, Birmingham* has a very high proportion of recent immigrants. Those who are primarily economic migrants are much more likely than natives to go somewhere for economic reasons, obviously, and in a lot of cases that means ignoring the attractions of London in favour of somewhere cheaper.

    [*I’ll admit to some inconsistency there, because previously I’ve said that Birmingham is practically part of London – but that was stretching a point and so is this. ]

    A million is a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of millions who have migrated to London from within the UK without any extra housing being built. That immigrants have added to the burden is unquestionable, but that they have added significantly is untrue.

    The SE and EoE regions – unhelpfully here, Essex is EoE – are short something on the order of 10 million homes. Less than half a million of those, by your figures, would be required to house the million immigrants (due to households having more than one occupant). I don’t know the figures for immigrant household size, but I suspect they’re more like 3 or 4 people on average, what with families, share-houses, and so-on. That means we’re possibly only looking at 250k homes needed to house them all. That’s 2.5%. As I said, not significant.

  24. David>

    “I believe some immigrant groups[…]”

    Who cares? That’s just prejudice. Even if the generalisation is true, one can’t treat individuals any differently because of some group you happen to decide to place them in. That Elbonians are more likely to commit X crime than the general population does not mean that any Elbonian is a criminal.

    I can’t believe you need this explained to you.

  25. @Dave
    ” tens of millions who have migrated to London from within the UK”
    In the last how many years? The population of London is not 10 million. How do you get that figure?
    @”The SE and EoE regions – unhelpfully here, Essex is EoE – are short something on the order of 10 million homes”
    That sounds rather high. How do you get those figures?
    Spain at the moment has a surplus of 1 million homes and that has caused a crash.

  26. @”Dave
    February 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    David>

    “I believe some immigrant groups[…]”

    Who cares? That’s just prejudice. Even if the generalisation is true, one can’t treat individuals any differently because of some group you happen to decide to place them in. That Elbonians are more likely to commit X crime than the general population does not mean that any Elbonian is a criminal.

    I can’t believe you need this explained to you.

    So therefore it is wrong to ask if immigration is beneficial or not to the UK? How can we have a debate then?

  27. @”ukliberty
    February 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Absent immigrants and asylum seekers, would there be enough homes anyway?

    I don’t know. Some homes were built by immigrants so the calculation must be difficult to work out.

  28. @ David and Dave
    I apologise if I occasionally get confused as to which of you is which since neither appears completely rational nor informed. However I do not apologise for being grouchy because you deserve it.
    David: I read your link – did you?
    It shows turnover in social housing of less than 5% per annum. So, not much scope for immigrants to reach the penetration of social housing tenants enjoyed by the indigenous populace especially since a large %age are for relatively short-term tenancies in sheltered/supported accommodation for the frail elderly, very few of whom are immigrants – ONS will give you %ages
    “A million is a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of millions who have migrated to London from within the UK without any extra housing being built. ”
    Tens of millions have migrated from within the UK in the last decade – what have they done? Fallen down a sinkhole? How many people do you think there are left outside London? The population of London is 8 million – nearly 3 million are immigrants, not borne in the UK; barely 5 million were borne in the UK and that includes children of immigrants.
    Would you do me the favour of thinking for a few seconds before posting such ridiculous comments
    “The SE and EoE regions – unhelpfully here, Essex is EoE – are short something on the order of 10 million homes.” For Pete’s sake – how many second homes do you want? 10 million homes is just *over* the TOTAL number of houses needed in London, South-East England and the East of England.
    I asked some time ago if you could understand my fairly short lucid explanation. It seems that you cannot understand the sources that you misquote. You try to argue that the concealement of data on new lettings by Lambeth is evidence that the immigrant population is a far higher %age of council tenants that the published figures but since total new lettings are less than 5% (and a large %age are for relatively short-term tenancies in sheltered/supported accommodation for the frail elderly, very few of whom are immigrants – ONS will give you %ages) this is a mathematical impossibility.
    “What is important is new lets” – NOT when we are debating the current number of immigrants occupying council/social housing. “How do you know that to be true? I very much doubt …”
    “According to migration watch …” – who cares? In most places with an exceptionally high %age of council housing like Ebbw Vale or Easington or East Kilbride they don’t bother to gather nationality data because there are not any foreign nationals in the town. Straw man.

  29. David>

    “In the last how many years? The population of London is not 10 million. How do you get that figure?”

    It’s been going on for about a century, but it’s only since they stopped building in the sixties/seventies that the problems have grown. No-one ever mentions it, but at least a third of the population of the UK has moved south in that time – probably more, once immigration is accounted for.

    I’ve used the analogy before that discussing immigration from the perspective of the London area is a little like a bunch of commuters squeezed up like sardines at one end of an empty carriage debating whether or not the train is full.

    Depending on how you define London, you can get population figures well under ten million. Defined inclusively as London’s area of economic hegemony, we’re looking at something like 30 million. (A lot of the economy of e.g. Peterborough is dependent on London, and in fact it’s practically commuter-belt.)

    “Spain at the moment has a surplus of 1 million homes and that has caused a crash.”

    We’re talking about how high London’s house prices are, and I don’t think anyone here would disagree that (whatever they feel the causes of the problem are) resolving the problem overnight would cause a drop in London house-prices that could only be called a crash.

    “So therefore it is wrong to ask if immigration is beneficial or not to the UK? How can we have a debate then?”

    We don’t seem to be communicating effectively here. It’s unfair discrimination to, for example, say that Radu the Romanian can’t come here because other Romanians have committed crimes. Wouldn’t you feel upset if some country announced that no Englishmen were allowed in because of, say, football hooliganism? Wouldn’t you feel that was unfair?

    UKL>

    “Absent immigrants and asylum seekers, would there be enough homes anyway?”

    No, absolutely not. Hence why I said it’s insignificant. It’s a fart in a sewer.

  30. John>

    You appear to be struggling with your reading comprehension skills today, perhaps as a result of confusing me with David.

    I didn’t say that tens of millions have migrated in the last decade. I don’t know where on earth you’ve got the idea that this problem has only arisen in the last decade.

    Your population figures are simply completely wrong. The London area by the broad definition now has something getting on for half the population of the UK. The North and Scotland are practically empty compared to a century ago, and those who do live there are in many cases immigrants who have replaced the south-migrating natives.

    This really is incontestable. Population centres north of Nottingham which have not experienced a significant decline over the past fifty, sixty, seventy years are rare to nonexistent. Amusingly, Scottish total population figures remain roughly constant thanks to Scots Pride – even London-born Scots are registered as being born in Scotland – despite the cities all showing dramatic declines; if we were to accept them at face value Scotland would be the only country in the Western world to have deurbanised.

  31. @ Dave
    Your reading comprehension skills should lead to understand that some comments were in reply to you and some in reply to David.
    “Your population figures are simply completely wrong.”
    They are not *my* figures – they are those from the Census: “http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_270487.pdf”
    Even if you include Norfolk and fishing villages in Sussex in “the London region” you are nowhere near 50% of the UK population.
    “I didn’t say that tens of millions have migrated in the last decade. I don’t know where on earth you’ve got the idea that this problem has only arisen in the last decade.”
    Firstly you were comparing your imaginary tens of millions with the 1+ million increase in the number of immigrants in a decade; secondly house prices have more than doubled since 1997 as a direct result of the housing shortage. We do not have data for 1997-2001, just for 2001-2011, so I use the valid available data.
    If you want to argue about the horrendous poverty in Victorian London resulting from the mass immigration of those escaping pogroms in Russia and the potato famine in Ireland you will have to speak to my wife (whose first degree was in History at Cambridge): I can only discuss stuff that I (can pretend to) understand, like numbers.

  32. @ Dave
    Your latest reply to David is disingeneous. The population of the Cambridge Science Park is oriented to the whole world, not just London: in fact it is more dependent on Silicon Valley in California than Old Street’s “Silicon Roundabout” in London. My home town is within commuting range of London and I commute when necessary but most local employment is independent of London and would continue if London evaporated overnight. Exports to places outside the UK are greater than “exports” to London.

  33. John>

    “Even if you include Norfolk and fishing villages in Sussex in “the London region” you are nowhere near 50% of the UK population.”

    Except you are. In fact you’re over it. Greater London and the SE region have over a quarter alone. Add in the East and the Midlands and you’re over 50%. Not all of the Midlands should be added, but I only said it’s ‘getting on for’ 50%. Just London, SE and E total over a third. Parts of the SW are the outer edges of the commuter-belt, as well. (And all the figures can go up slightly, because it’s plain the total for Scotland is complete bollocks – parents still claiming residence of adult children who’ve emigrated and so-on.)

    I like the way you’ve managed to go from ‘this started before 2001’ to the Victorians, but you’re not going to get a response out of me there other than a chuckle at your chutzpah.

    Your comment about CSP is fair enough, but it’s an exception. And I’m not sure you’ve understood what I menat by hegemony. Perhaps I should just have called it London’s economic sphere, or some other equally waffly term. The point there is that it’s a two-way connection, which is why I’m counting these areas as London in a broader sense.

  34. @ Dave
    Learn some arithmetic: the ONS show that London plus the South-East plus the East of England amount to 22.6 million. That is a LOT less than half of the UK population.
    You want to add in Cornwall? Well if you choose anything this side of the Irish Sea, you can claim that over 90% is in the London region – try that on a Celtic supporter!
    I am losing patience with you.
    There are some hard facts which exist whether you like it or not. London population 8-and-a-bit million – down from the 9+ million 50years ago; employment 3+ million of which one-third are immigrants. Dependance on London of workers in Land Rover factories in Coventry or in Honda factories in Swindon: zilch.

  35. “john77
    February 17, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    @ David and Dave
    I apologise if I occasionally get confused as to which of you is which since neither appears completely rational nor informed. However I do not apologise for being grouchy because you deserve it.
    David: I read your link – did you?
    It shows turnover in social housing of less than 5% per annum. So, not much scope for immigrants to reach the penetration of social housing ”
    Sorry where does it show that? Although 4% p.a. could 40% over ten years which is quite a lot.
    Also the figures can be misleading. I know a woman from Colombia who arrived here in 96 and got a council house in 2006 – no one would complain about that from the figures, she was here 10 years before she got a council house. However during those 10 years her rent was paid for by the tax payer and taking up a home that someone else could have had.
    Of course people like her could be statistically insignificant – but the figures don’t show that whether significant or not.

  36. @John,
    “john77
    February 17, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    @ “So, not much scope for immigrants to reach the penetration of social housing tenants enjoyed by the indigenous populace”
    Then how did the Somalis manage it?
    Besides it is not really relevant the percentage of council housing UK that is occupied by immigrants, what is relevant is the percentage in places with a serious shortfall. Which is probably a lot higher.

  37. @ David
    ” This figure comprises 404,000 local authority owned properties and 376,000 housing association properties.”
    “19,820 lets to new tenants with 8,300 in general needs housing and 11,520 in supported housing” “”There were also 13,150 lets to existing tenants of social housing who moved social housing properties e.g. to one with more bedrooms.”

  38. @John77
    How you would you answer this
    @ “So, not much scope for immigrants to reach the penetration of social housing tenants enjoyed by the indigenous populace”
    Then how did the Somalis manage it?
    @Dave
    “Dave
    February 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    John>

    Your innumeracy is baffling.

    Actually I find yours harder to understand. You have not managed to show how there is a lack of 10 million houses in the south east.

  39. @ David
    Utter and ridiculous bullshit. The number of native social housing tenants is over 3 million and the 2011 census found only 99,484 Somalis in the UK.

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