Nick Sommerlad of the Daily Mirror, with some help from the GMB research department, has a hell of a scoop: a full third of the Right to Buy properties are owned by private landlords.
And a very substantial chunk of those, in some London boroughs, are owned by Charles Gow, the son of the government minister responsible for the Right to Buy, Ian Gow. And his wife, Karin. And the Gows started buying in 1996, exactly at the low point of UK house price/average earnings ratios, at £100,000 a gaff. Nice trade! They’re now renting some of them for £1,500 a month for four-bedroom properties. All the bullshit about claimants getting eleventy thousand a second in housing benefit? That’s Gow’s kid, that is.
I mean, at this point I struggle to find anything coherent to say. All the guff about RTB as a transforming flagship social policy and nobody thought to find out if it wasn’t just a mammoth exercise in personal kleptocracy.
This quote, from Gow’s kid, is damning, although the photo is stomach-turningly better:
“You aren’t trying to make me feel guilty, are you?”
Beyond loathing, the numbers are fascinating in the light of the Simple Plan. A ton of ex-local authority property in London is controlled by the BTLers and therefore a potential target. 46 per cent of Kingston’s leaseholders give a correspondence address. 42% of KenChel’s. 39% of Wandsworth’s. No London council the Mirror investigated was under a quarter. And the same pattern exists beyond London – 42% in Nottingham, 37% in Leeds.
Better, this rolls up a number of problems with the Simple Plan. We now know that, yes, the BTLers bought the council stock. The councils can hardly refuse property identical to the stuff they own next door on the grounds of quality. And nobody knows better how to maintain and manage them than the people who already do the XRDs on the buildings.
Anyway, next stop is to find out how much Gow’s kid is getting off the taxpayer. KCG Property is certainly a thing, based in Putney, but it ain’t on the British company register…it would also be interesting to know about any overlap with this lot (see here).