Fenland’s UKIP parliamentary candidate has received more than £1.5 million in housing benefit over two years for housing vulnerable tenants – including migrants.
In its manifesto, published ahead of tomorrow’s election, the party said it would stop all new migrants receiving various benefits.
Yet its North East Cambridgeshire candidate and housing and environment spokesman, Andrew Charalambous, has been named as Britain’s tenth biggest private landlord recipient of housing benefit – with one in six of his tenants being migrants.
According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the union GMB, the multi-millionaire buy-to-let tycoon received £826,395 from Haringey Council in the last tax year.
The year prior to that, he’d made £745,351 from Haringey in housing benefit.
Mr Charalambous owns “several hundred” properties in London, and foreign nationals account for around 14 per cent of his tenants, according to the UKIP press office.
Private rented accommodation accounts for around 4.2 million households in Britain – and in more than a third of these, the rent is paid in part or full by the state.
Private landlords were paid a total of £9.2 billion in housing benefit in the 2013-2014 tax year, at a time when social housing is being cut.
Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said the union’s research “lifts the lid on the mainly secret payments to landlords who are the real winners from Britain’s welfare system.”
“We see taxpayers’ cash subsidising buy-to-let empires with £9.2 billion paid into private landlords’ bank accounts,” he said.
A UKIP spokesman said although new immigrants wouldn’t get any benefits for five years under its plans, people already here – like Mr Charalambous’ current tenants – would keep theirs.
The spokesman said: “Landlords like Andrew Charalambous who accept housing benefit tenants at a time when there is extremely high demand for rental properties are in fact offering a valuable community service.
“Mr Charalambous categorically does not believe that immigrants should not receive housing or other benefits.”