UKIP housing spokesman trousering a fortune renting to migrants on benefits despite party’s policies
Multi-millionaire landlord Andrew Charalambous earned £745,351 in housing benefit from tenants and concedes migration has ‘fuelled price and demand’
Eyevine Lucrative: UKIP’s millionaire landlord and housing spokesman Andrew Charalambous
UKIP’S housing spokesman is making a fortune off migrant tenants on benefits – despite Nigel Farage calling for a ban on foreigners claiming welfare.
Multi-millionaire landlord Andrew Charalambous has pocketed £745,351 in housing benefit from occupants, who he admits include immigrants.
It will heap embarrassment on party leader Mr Farage and comes after Mr Charalambous described immigrants as a “massive factor in the overcrowding of social housing”.
He also demanded “priority be given to British families and those who contributed to the system”.
When Mr Charalambous was asked whether he was a hypocrite over his massive haul, he said: “Not at all. We don’t want to get into any business of questioning where people come from. That would be totally unfair.
“We operate in an area that is largely a migrant population. From a commercial point of view and a human point of view, we are not concerned about what the ethnic origin of the tenants is.”
He also said he was an “ethical” landlord but refused to confirm how many properties he owned.
Asked whether he was profiting from immigration, he said: “Immigration has not only fuelled demand but has fuelled price. I think that’s true.”
Earner: One of the UKIP spokesman’s rental properties in London
Our investigation with union GMB found his firm Woodlands Estates Limited got the £745,315 benefit cash through Haringey Council, in North London, last year – more than any other private landlord.
But the true figure is higher as it does not include benefit paid by the council to his tenants before they passed the money to Woodlands.
Last month leader Mr Farage called for new migrants to be banned from getting welfare handouts for five years after arriving in this country.
He said: “We must be completely mad, as a country, to be giving people from Eastern Europe in-work benefits.”
But buy-to-let tycoon Mr Charalambous, who has stood in a by-election to try to become UKIP’s first MP, said he would continue to accept migrants as tenants “as long as they are legally entitled to claim benefits”.
Wealthy Mr Charalambous went on: “If the law is going to change, then we work within the parameters of the law.”
He said that almost one in six of his tenants were recent migrants to the UK but insisted the rest had British passports, which they got through relatives or because they had been in the country for a number of years.
He said: “We live in a country which obviously lots of people want to move to. We shouldn’t stop people coming here for a better life. If people want to come here to contribute, we need to be open minded about that.
“But we need a way of saying ‘look this is where we draw the line’.”
But furious GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said: “Housing hypocrite Charalambous blames foreigners for Britain’s housing crisis while he receives millions of taxpayers’ money in rent subsidies.
“Public money raised from hard-pressed families going to landlords such as Charalambous has to be stopped, with a building programme of new council housing for rent.”
Edward Lloyd/Alpha Andrew Charalambous , Baroness Margaret Thatcher and Greg Barker (Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment) at the Goring Hotel in Belgravia London Summer Party Turncoat: Charalambous was formerly a Tory and cosied up to Margaret Thatcher in 2008
Mr Charalambous donated £146,000 to the Tories before defecting to UKIP and was pictured cosying up to Margaret Thatcher at a swanky party at a London hotel in 2008.
He has twice tried and failed to be elected as an MP, as a Tory candidate in 2010 and for UKIP in 2011.
Nicknamed “Dr Earth”, he has opened an “ecological” nightclub, describes himself as a “tantric master” and claims to have “dated some of the most beautiful women in the world”.
He began investing in properties in 1994 and now owns hundreds in the capital, including “most” of those rented out by Woodlands.
He insisted: “It’s to our credit that we accept tenants that other landlords wouldn’t accept. They are people that otherwise wouldn’t get housing.”
From the Daily Mirror . 22.02.2014. Report by Nick Sommerlad.
Liveraf Comment. Of course we at Liveraf have no objections to immigrants living in rented accommodation, or to receiving benefits. But the hypocrisy of UKIP’s Housing Spokesperson making a very fat fortune from migrants on benefits, whilst UKIP is opposed to migrants on benefit, just beggars belief. But that’s Capitalism for you. Apologies, by the way, for the photograph of the dreadful Mrs. T, but it formed part of the original article. Just think, if Maggie Thatcher was still around, we wouldn’t have to worry about fighting UKIP.