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Housing

MPs are three times more likely to own a second home than the general public

More than 100 MPs earned a “significant” rental income on a second home, pocketing an estimated £2.6m in rent, according to Transparency International UK.

Members of parliament are three times more likely to own a second home than the general public and it could impact how leaders tackle the housing crisis, anti-corruption campaigners have warned. 

Transparency International UK’s (TIUK) analysis of parliamentary disclosures revealed 40 per cent of MPs and peers had a registered interest in property with 177 MPs owning 312 residential properties between them – collectively worth more than £31million. That means just over a quarter of MPs have a second home, three times higher than the 9 per cent of households in England.

Overall 113 MPs generated “significant” rental income from a second property, which parliamentary rules define as £10,000 or more annually. TIUK estimated these MPs receive a combined £2.6m a year in rent but said the true figure is likely to be much higher.

Daniel Bruce, TIUK chief executive, said the findings show the need for tighter controls on conflicts of interest in Westminster.

“With parliamentarians far more likely to own second homes than the general population, it’s reasonable to question how representative their experience is of the housing crisis and whether this has some bearing on the political appetite for change,” said Bruce.

Overall, there were 1,325 registered property interests in the disclosures, which ranged from owning a flat and renting it out to holding shares in a property finance company, including 212 MPs and 321 peers.

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In terms of political parties, 43 per cent of Conservative Lords and MPs declared property interests working out at 269 out of 619 Tory parliamentarians. The Liberal Democrats followed with 42 per cent registering an interest while 23 per cent of Labour parliamentarians did the same.

More than 40 MPs have some form of interest in property companies or businesses, including shareholdings or directorships with just under half of these directly employed by a property related business. One MP worked as an advisor for a construction company, receiving £5,000 for 1.6 hours of advisory work.

Chris Bailey, campaign manager at Action on Empty Homes, told The Big Issue: “It is a harsh irony that MPs who have it in their hands to turn round our national housing crisis, appear in many cases to be more likely to be profiting from it.

“The research findings will feel like a slap in the face to the rising number of families becoming homeless and suffering from rising rents and lack of access to genuinely affordable housing.”

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The parliamentary disclosures were originally published in September 2021 and TIUK has called for greater transparency over financial interests in Westminster.

The anti-corruption campaigners found at least 60 instances in the last five years where parliamentarians had failed to report their financial interests on time or at all and linked at least 10 of these breaches MPs’ property interests.

“Collecting such details of MPs’ and peers’ financial interests is extremely time-consuming and highlights the need for greater transparency,” added Bruce.

“Understanding parliamentarians’ financial affairs should be possible with the click of a button, but the way this information is currently published is almost stuck in the Victorian era.”

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