Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Buy-to-Let parliament

One of the less well known causes of the housing bubble. MPs were making money out of the property market. Why stop a good thing...?

From the Times.....

The full extent to which MPs used second home allowances to play the property market was laid bare last night as one former Labour minister was revealed to have made almost £200,000 on a flat renovated with public money.

Barry Gardiner, the former environment minister, cashed in on his second home, having claimed thousands of pounds in expenses to renovate the Westminster property, located just a few miles from his main Brent North constituency house.

Mr Gardiner’s gain exposed how politicians have exploited the £24,222 MPs annual second home allowance, beefed up with generous expense accounts, to buy additional properties, refurbish them with kitchens and bathrooms, and acquire furniture — all paid for by the taxpayer.

Ben Bradshaw, the Junior Health Minister, also used his second home allowance to pay for the entire mortgage on a London home which he owned jointly with his partner. A spokesman said: “Although the mortgage is in their joint names, since the civil partnership, Mr Bradshaw has paid the full bill. Before 2006 Mr Bradshaw only claimed for half the mortgage interest for his property, although the rules would have allowed him to claim for the full amount.”

It also emerged that Greg Barker, the shadow climate change minister, made £320,000 after buying a property with the assistance of public money and selling it after 27 months


Mark Wadsworth said...

I've been saying this for ages.

The way that the capital gains tax rules exempt gains on second properties in certain specific circumstances are tailor made for MPs.

Anonymous said...

There has long been a suspicious connection between the Labour government and juicing the property bubble. Many of their policies made no sense unless viewed through this prism: I hate to say it, even the horrific wars have been connected to keeping the property bubble going. They have traded corpses for empires nasty bedsits in inner city London.

electro-kevin said...

I agree, though I think the property bubble was caused by other things too.

The public bought into it, that's the real problem.

Crime, immigration, illegal wars, stealth taxes ...

Not a problem as long as house prices were going up.

This is why I yearn for a total wipe out. Besides. The British people were undeserving of this unearned 'wealth'.

Mitch said...

This is just theft

Jenny H said...

Am I alone when I say that I find this story extremely painful. I feel, on a personal level, hurt and betrayed.

Am I the only one?