Saturday, 5 March 2011

My Big Fat Gypsy Slum Landlord

Housing benefits were paid to a man living in a “barely habitable” barn on a traveller site.
Basildon Council paid out thousands of pounds over several years to Paul Lawton, 69, who had been taken in by the traveller community and worked for them.
Shouldn’t they be making checks, or something, on this sort of thing?
Basildon Council said it did not make checks.
Oh. OK then.
Rob Manser, the council’s benefits manager, said: “In the case of privately-rented properties, Basildon Council does not assess the standard of property that housing benefit is being claimed for.”
Not that you’d expect anyone from the council to venture on to a traveller encampment even if they did…
The details emerged at a planning inquiry being held at the Basildon Centre, where Mr Lawton’s traveller landlord Elvey Upton was appealing for permission to convert the barn into a two-storey house.
For Mr Lawton to live in? Somehow, I doubt it…
Mrs Upton and husband David Cooper are appealing against a council enforcement notice to demolish the property. Mrs Upton said she had cared for Mr Lawton for 38 years and argued the council’s action had rendered him homeless.
She said: “I have always cared for Paul and made sure he is safe. I do most of his shopping and ensure he has meals and care for him generally.”
She said although he had lived there for 18 years, it was only last year the family realised Mr Lawton’s accommodation was not up to scratch and needed upgrading.
Really? I don’t think even Rachman had the nerve to try that excuse…


Zaphod said...

"Thousands of pounds over a number of years"? So how much was the rent? Ten quid a week? Without more details, I don't see any cause for outrage.

I lived for years with an outside toilet and no running hot water. "Barely habitable" is not uninhabitable. Who is complaining?

Not everybody aspires to affluence. Is that a problem?

Jim said...

What I love about the gypsies and their gaming of the system is that they are so blatant about it. And the beautiful thing (from their perspective) is that the council officials can't (or won't) investigate to prove their statements wrong. So they can say whatever they like in official documents and no-one will ever call them on it, and thus their statements, being unopposed, become fact. And they will get whatever they want.

In some ways I admire them for beating the bureaucrats. In fact I wish I had the muscle to do likewise.

JuliaM said...

"Not everybody aspires to affluence. Is that a problem?"

It usually isn't. But when they aspire to benefits, I think there really should be some sort of check that they aren't being ripped of.

" And they will get whatever they want."

Not always. Look for a post coming soon...