Conservative MP Mike Weatherley is driving the campaign to criminalise squatting. Despite data that there are 710,000 empty houses in England. His actions likely motivated by the massive personal financial donations, which he has received from millionaires who trade in properties.
Parliamentary records show that Mr Weatherley has been supported by donations from property tycoons, investors and multi-millionaires: Ray Bloom, Stewart Newton and Sir Tim Sainsbury.
Mr Weatherley was also given money before becoming elected. Detailed by the research resource search the money – he received over £150,000. This money came from property investors Hambrook Estate Limited, as well as the property investors the Lewis Trust Group Ltd: £2,000, elite focused United and Cecil Club and Winston Churchill Dining Clubs and Millionaire property trader Mike Holland and developer John D Regan.
In the shadowy world of political donations, it is not clear if this is the full extent of the money he has received. As a company director, he gets paid £32,000 for apparently doing 6 days of work per year.
Nevertheless, whether all the lobbying is accounted for or not – the thousands of pounds that are public information reveal a great deal about British politics in general: money talks and democracy does not work.
The photo shows the MP in action, pushing forward the agenda against squatting. In the image he is flanked by two landlord lobbyists. The two organisations they represents describe well the natures of the anti-squatting lobby.
On the viewers left, is Alan Ward the Residential Landlord Association chairman. Their website boasts how they represent “12,500+ landlords with a combined portfolio of more than 150,000 properties.” A mortgage company suggests the average annual UK rent is £11,664. Taking into account how there are so many empty properties, because it keeps the rents high, crude maths can explain the interests the association is lobbying for. The figures suggest that the average member of the Residential Landlords Association, owns 12 houses, keeps 2 derelict and makes over £100,000 per year for renting the other 10 properties.
Photographed on the right is Paul Shamplina, co-founder of Landlord Action. Starting out as a debt collector and bailiff, his organisation’s website also boasts how he has “has helped to evict over 16,000 bad tenants.” A figure that will rise quickly as austerity cuts ravage Britain harder and jobs are cut further.
The political funding of Mr Weatherley, by property tycoons, seems a microcosm of British society. It gives a dark sinister twist to the government’s webpage “MPs: They work for you.”
A more accurate tagline could be “MPs: They are supposed to work for you” or even: “MPs: They work for bribery.”