'Do you think that's right?': Mayor of Barnet Hugh Rayner receives more than £28,000 in housing benefits

The Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Hugh Rayner.

The Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Hugh Rayner.

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Under-fire Barnet Mayor Hugh Rayner has received more than £28,000 in housing benefits from tenants, it was claimed today.

Evidence showing exactly how much money Councillor Rayner made through claiming housing benefits on behalf of his tenants was brought to the attention of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, during today's London Assembly Question Time.

The Hale ward councillor owns 15 properties in the Colindale area with his wife, Susan, and four more through his company, S&H Housing Limited.

Freedom of Information requests have revealed S&H Limited has received a total of £25,694 from Barnet Borough Council in housing benefit, as well as £2,769 from Barnet Homes, and another £3,000 incentive payment for taking on social tenants.

He has never declared an interest relating to his role as a landlord, despite chairing meetings discussing major changes to private landlords' payments and financial incentives for those taking on social tenants.

Addressing the Mayor of London today, Barnet GLA member Andrew Dismore said: "What makes it worse, of course, isn't just that he's been making all this money out of housing benefit - the fact that when he chaired the committee that approved this agreement for rent deposits and landlord incentives on 22 May 2013, he didn't make a declaration of interest.

"Nor did he make any declaration of interest when they switched the housing policy from the social sector to the private sector on 12 July 2010, nor in December 2012, nor did he declare a non-pecuniary interest in Jan 2014.

"He still says it's a non-pecuniary interest, even though he's making all this money out of housing benefit from the council and Barnet Homes. Do you think that's right?"

But the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said Barnet Council's monitoring officer is investigating the matter and it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment until this has been concluded.

This is not the first time Cllr Rayner has come under scrutiny - last month, Boris Johnson admitted Councillor Hugh Rayner's behaviour had been "prima facie illegal" following evidence about the "unfair" way he treats his tenants, who all receive housing benefit.

Mr Dismore had told Boris Johnson that Cllr Rayner was not part of the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, and that he drafted 12-month contracts which permitted rent increases by any amount and at any time during the year. He also paid an unannounced visit to a tenant at 10pm asking for the new lease to be signed - even though his contract said adequate notice must be given.

Cllr Hugh Rayner has declined to comment.

Comments (19)

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4:58pm Wed 2 Jul 14

nlygo says...

ah yes, Andrew Dismore complains.

is this the same Dismore who (when Hendon MP) claimed enough travel allowances in a year to drive between his constituency and Parliament three times every day that the Commons sat?

and the same Dismore who claimed £34,000 in second home expenses for a west London flat, which houses his girlfriend’s homoeopathy surgery, while designating a property just a few miles away in his north London constituency as his main home? The same Dismore who then “flipped” his second home designation to the north London property and claimed a further £31,000 after telling Commons officials that the west London flat had become his main residence. In total, the then MP for Hendon split £65,000 in second home allowances between the two London properties over an eight-year period. He also used more than £1,000 in office expenses to pay his girlfriend to do casual work for him.

yes.
ah yes, Andrew Dismore complains. is this the same Dismore who (when Hendon MP) claimed enough travel allowances in a year to drive between his constituency and Parliament three times every day that the Commons sat? and the same Dismore who claimed £34,000 in second home expenses for a west London flat, which houses his girlfriend’s homoeopathy surgery, while designating a property just a few miles away in his north London constituency as his main home? The same Dismore who then “flipped” his second home designation to the north London property and claimed a further £31,000 after telling Commons officials that the west London flat had become his main residence. In total, the then MP for Hendon split £65,000 in second home allowances between the two London properties over an eight-year period. He also used more than £1,000 in office expenses to pay his girlfriend to do casual work for him. yes. nlygo
  • Score: 0

5:42pm Wed 2 Jul 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

We all know that Dismore revels in ripping off the tax payer, and can certainly trump anything Rayner has managed in that regard.

What is more interesting is whether Labour (whose activists make the FOI requests that generate these "stories") really think that this type of smear campaign will help them to take Rayner's Hale seat and, therefore, the council from the tories.

Seems unlikely to me, but you can't blame them for trying!
We all know that Dismore revels in ripping off the tax payer, and can certainly trump anything Rayner has managed in that regard. What is more interesting is whether Labour (whose activists make the FOI requests that generate these "stories") really think that this type of smear campaign will help them to take Rayner's Hale seat and, therefore, the council from the tories. Seems unlikely to me, but you can't blame them for trying! AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -12

7:38pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Mr E Dance says...

Dear nlygo & ABR,
I wasn't aware of these facts about Mr Dismore (indefensible if true), but isn't this story concerned with the conduct of Mayor Raynor, the appearance of him having his snout in the trough, & acting like a slum landlord (turning up at night on the doorsteps of vulnerable tenants with pre-witnessed (sic) documents), & growing fat off Barnet taxpayers?
Would you care to comment on HIS behaviour?
Dear nlygo & ABR, I wasn't aware of these facts about Mr Dismore (indefensible if true), but isn't this story concerned with the conduct of Mayor Raynor, the appearance of him having his snout in the trough, & acting like a slum landlord (turning up at night on the doorsteps of vulnerable tenants with pre-witnessed (sic) documents), & growing fat off Barnet taxpayers? Would you care to comment on HIS behaviour? Mr E Dance
  • Score: 24

9:39pm Wed 2 Jul 14

nlygo says...

its about the pot calling the kettle black.
its about the pot calling the kettle black. nlygo
  • Score: -10

11:47pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Cadwallader says...

In the case of these two, it's probably about damage limitation. They have a robotic repetitiveness which smacks of pre-prepared briefings in Hendon.

Dismore's been investigated and seems to have come through the whole thing reasonably well (considering what happened to other MPs at the time).

What we need to know from Rayner is his thinking behind the failure to declare his interests as a landlord and as the owner of a property management provider while sitting and voting on committees with a responsibility for housing.

I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation. Absolutely unlikely to be anything along the lines of "I thought I'd make more money if I just kept my mouth shut ...
In the case of these two, it's probably about damage limitation. They have a robotic repetitiveness which smacks of pre-prepared briefings in Hendon. Dismore's been investigated and seems to have come through the whole thing reasonably well (considering what happened to other MPs at the time). What we need to know from Rayner is his thinking behind the failure to declare his interests as a landlord and as the owner of a property management provider while sitting and voting on committees with a responsibility for housing. I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation. Absolutely unlikely to be anything along the lines of "I thought I'd make more money if I just kept my mouth shut ... Cadwallader
  • Score: 23

11:48pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Mr. Datchery says...

What ever Andrew Dismore did does not make what Rayner has done and is doing right, it's a stupid argument.
What ever Andrew Dismore did does not make what Rayner has done and is doing right, it's a stupid argument. Mr. Datchery
  • Score: 22

12:57am Thu 3 Jul 14

Cadwallader says...

It's spin. Look look - a straw man!
It's spin. Look look - a straw man! Cadwallader
  • Score: 12

11:59am Thu 3 Jul 14

Natastic1 says...

I am bored of Andrew Dismore's constant criticism of the Mayor - he should move on and stop this vendetta which embarrassingly is no doubt to help his own personal election campaign. I am sure there must be much more important things to discuss at the GLA so stop wasting Boris's time and taxpayers money. Mr Raynor has been elected - get over it and move on.
I am bored of Andrew Dismore's constant criticism of the Mayor - he should move on and stop this vendetta which embarrassingly is no doubt to help his own personal election campaign. I am sure there must be much more important things to discuss at the GLA so stop wasting Boris's time and taxpayers money. Mr Raynor has been elected - get over it and move on. Natastic1
  • Score: -16

5:14pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Mr E Dance says...

......'get over it and move on', isn't that what the Mayor said to his tenants when he hiked up the rent?
......'get over it and move on', isn't that what the Mayor said to his tenants when he hiked up the rent? Mr E Dance
  • Score: 12

12:18pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Mr E Dance says...

Dear nlygo & ABR,
.....still waiting for your well informed comments about the Mayor's conduct.
You're unusually quiet, for once.........
Dear nlygo & ABR, .....still waiting for your well informed comments about the Mayor's conduct. You're unusually quiet, for once......... Mr E Dance
  • Score: 8

4:39pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Mr. Datchery says...

Natastic1 wrote:
I am bored of Andrew Dismore's constant criticism of the Mayor - he should move on and stop this vendetta which embarrassingly is no doubt to help his own personal election campaign. I am sure there must be much more important things to discuss at the GLA so stop wasting Boris's time and taxpayers money. Mr Raynor has been elected - get over it and move on.
Exactly the same could be said about Andrew Dismore. incidentally he was cleared by the Committe on Standards in Public Life.
[quote][p][bold]Natastic1[/bold] wrote: I am bored of Andrew Dismore's constant criticism of the Mayor - he should move on and stop this vendetta which embarrassingly is no doubt to help his own personal election campaign. I am sure there must be much more important things to discuss at the GLA so stop wasting Boris's time and taxpayers money. Mr Raynor has been elected - get over it and move on.[/p][/quote]Exactly the same could be said about Andrew Dismore. incidentally he was cleared by the Committe on Standards in Public Life. Mr. Datchery
  • Score: 2

6:26pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Natastic1 says...

Being cleared by whatever committee does not make it right for Andrew Dismore to claim so much from the taxpayer - people don't forget and I am sure they won't at the next election.
Being cleared by whatever committee does not make it right for Andrew Dismore to claim so much from the taxpayer - people don't forget and I am sure they won't at the next election. Natastic1
  • Score: -5

9:15am Sat 5 Jul 14

Barnet Parker says...

Let's put Dismore's expenses into context. I was also paying for Tory MP's duck houses, moat clearing and Cameron's wisteria to be removed from his chimney. Unfortunately they were all at it at the time. On balance I found Dismore to be a good hardworking local MP who responded to correspondence unlike his successor who seems more interested in protecting his dog's human rights. So Natastic is correct - I haven't forgotten and as a result will be voting Dismore.

I also haven't forgotten that the police were called in when a Labour councillor was accused of failing to declare a pertinent matter before voting and am curious why Rayner has not been dealt with in the same way.

It seems ironic that someone who was demanding respect for the mayoralty last month is, not only attracting such question marks, but is also drawing the Mayor of London into an awkward position.
Let's put Dismore's expenses into context. I was also paying for Tory MP's duck houses, moat clearing and Cameron's wisteria to be removed from his chimney. Unfortunately they were all at it at the time. On balance I found Dismore to be a good hardworking local MP who responded to correspondence unlike his successor who seems more interested in protecting his dog's human rights. So Natastic is correct - I haven't forgotten and as a result will be voting Dismore. I also haven't forgotten that the police were called in when a Labour councillor was accused of failing to declare a pertinent matter before voting and am curious why Rayner has not been dealt with in the same way. It seems ironic that someone who was demanding respect for the mayoralty last month is, not only attracting such question marks, but is also drawing the Mayor of London into an awkward position. Barnet Parker
  • Score: 7

11:53am Sat 5 Jul 14

aworrall says...

Let's bring Dismore's claim on taxpayers money into the current context - he is still claiming for travel on the GLA (whether he is entitled to or not doesn't make it right in the eyes of the voters), still has his two houses but doesn't actually live in the constituency and now wants us to vote for him to have two jobs which would bring his combined salary to around £120k. How can he possibly represent his constituents properly doing two jobs? I personally am not prepared to fund Mr Dismore any more - I think he has had enough from the taxpayer already.
Let's bring Dismore's claim on taxpayers money into the current context - he is still claiming for travel on the GLA (whether he is entitled to or not doesn't make it right in the eyes of the voters), still has his two houses but doesn't actually live in the constituency and now wants us to vote for him to have two jobs which would bring his combined salary to around £120k. How can he possibly represent his constituents properly doing two jobs? I personally am not prepared to fund Mr Dismore any more - I think he has had enough from the taxpayer already. aworrall
  • Score: -7

8:26am Sun 6 Jul 14

Barnet Parker says...

Let's put Dismore's GLA travel expenses in the previous context; I doubt he's claiming more than his Tory predecessor, Brian 'Taxi for Mr.' Coleman.
Let's put Dismore's GLA travel expenses in the previous context; I doubt he's claiming more than his Tory predecessor, Brian 'Taxi for Mr.' Coleman. Barnet Parker
  • Score: 4

9:35am Sun 6 Jul 14

Edgar de Jarnac says...

This Times Series article is principally about Hugh Rayner's dodgy activities as a landlord and his equally knavish failure to declare his personal interests during relevant council discussions.

So how come most of the posted comments manage to ignore these issues and instead try to deflect attention onto Andrew Dismal's failings? This looks to me like a diversionary tactic by Rayner supporters who are clearly unable to offer any evidence to justify their hero's disgraceful contempt for his tenants and for Barnet's electorate.

I therefore challenge Rayner's cronies to provide comments that actually defend his activities rather than just attempt to redirect attention to the deficiencies of his opponents.
This Times Series article is principally about Hugh Rayner's dodgy activities as a landlord and his equally knavish failure to declare his personal interests during relevant council discussions. So how come most of the posted comments manage to ignore these issues and instead try to deflect attention onto Andrew Dismal's failings? This looks to me like a diversionary tactic by Rayner supporters who are clearly unable to offer any evidence to justify their hero's disgraceful contempt for his tenants and for Barnet's electorate. I therefore challenge Rayner's cronies to provide comments that actually defend his activities rather than just attempt to redirect attention to the deficiencies of his opponents. Edgar de Jarnac
  • Score: 10

12:23pm Sun 6 Jul 14

sensiblefellow says...

If Boris Johnson proves to be correct about Hugh Rayner's actions being "prima facie illegal", could this see the mayor behind bars? If so, the Tories would yet again have embarrassed our borough with their disgraceful behaviour. The only upside would be that Barnet would come under Labour control, but they would have their work cut out in clearing up the Tory muck.
If Boris Johnson proves to be correct about Hugh Rayner's actions being "prima facie illegal", could this see the mayor behind bars? If so, the Tories would yet again have embarrassed our borough with their disgraceful behaviour. The only upside would be that Barnet would come under Labour control, but they would have their work cut out in clearing up the Tory muck. sensiblefellow
  • Score: 6

3:06pm Sun 6 Jul 14

Rog T says...

It's actually quite simple. From the comments here we must assume that all of our local Tories who can be bothered to comment think that Mr Rayners behaviour is fine and dandy. What the rest of us can conclude from that, I suppose is perhaps a bit different though
It's actually quite simple. From the comments here we must assume that all of our local Tories who can be bothered to comment think that Mr Rayners behaviour is fine and dandy. What the rest of us can conclude from that, I suppose is perhaps a bit different though Rog T
  • Score: 9

12:34am Fri 18 Jul 14

marccohen53 says...

Bored of the same story from the Hendon "Labour" Times - how many more stories on this do we have to read?! How many more polls are they going to run on this? Is there nothing else going on in Barnet or have the Hendon Times become completely obsessed with Hugh Raynor every week? Sounds like a Labour Party obsession. The only other stories seem to be about Barnet FC.
Bored of the same story from the Hendon "Labour" Times - how many more stories on this do we have to read?! How many more polls are they going to run on this? Is there nothing else going on in Barnet or have the Hendon Times become completely obsessed with Hugh Raynor every week? Sounds like a Labour Party obsession. The only other stories seem to be about Barnet FC. marccohen53
  • Score: -1

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