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From: The Socialist issue 913, 24 August 2016: Kick out the Blairites

Search site for keywords: Them & Us - US - Westminster - Housing - Housing benefit - Britain - Rich - Trusts - Wealth - Tenants - Super-rich

Them & Us

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Duke of Westminster

How do you get to be the fifth richest person in Britain? Hard work? Big ideas? Low cunning?

No. The answer is: inherit. The recent death of Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, left his son Hugh with an estimated net worth of 9.35 billion (Sunday Times Rich List 2016).

That's more than the gross domestic product of Albania (9.34 billion, IMF 2016 estimate). His grace's considerable estate dates back to 1677, and includes 300 acres of millionaires' stomping grounds in west London.

Still, at least austerity Britain's coffers can expect a hefty inheritance tax windfall. About 4 billion if estimates of the 7th duke's wealth are accurate.

But no! The Grosvenor family owns its extensive lands through a trust rather than individually. Trustees may die, but trusts cannot - so no pesky inheritance tax.

Landlord benefit

Britain's private landlords collectively received 9.3 billion in tenants' housing benefit last year.

This figure has nearly doubled in a decade, says a report by social landlord umbrella the National Housing Federation. If all those private renters on housing benefit were in affordable homes, the bill would fall by 1.5 billion.

Nearly half of those claiming housing benefit are in work. This is nothing more than free money for big landlords and mortgage lenders, and a subsidy to poverty-pay employers.

The Socialist says: nationalise the land and take over empty properties, paying compensation only on the basis of proven need. No more free rides for super-rich landowners and property speculators. For rent caps and a mass programme of quality council house building.







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