Tag Archives: the queen

Debrett’s Scroungers: UK’s richest aristocrats on Housing Benefit

Debrett's Housing Benefits Scroungers

Some of the UK’s wealthiest aristocrats trousered nearly a million pounds in Housing Benefit last year. The news comes after the Mirror exposed the hypocrisy of the country’s richest Tory MP, Richard Benyon, for receiving £119,000 in direct housing benefit payments for tenants on his £110m estate — while attacking the “something for nothing” welfare system.

The figures have been revealed by a mammoth freedom of information request by the GMB union and are yet another blow to the right-wing ‘scroungers’ narrative — showing wealthy landlords are often the real winners in Britain’s welfare system.

The cash going to toffs listed below is in addition to money creamed off by the Queen via the Crown Estate and Prince Charles via the Duchy of Cornwall.

Grosvenor Estate Belgravia, part of Grovenor Group: Fixed assets of £4.3bn. Headed by the Duke of Westminster who is in the Sunday Times Rich List as 8th richest person in Britain with wealth estimated at £7.8bn. (£243,000)

Cowdray Estate / Paddockhurst Estate: Michael Pearson, 4th Viscount Cowdray, listed on the Sunday Times Rich List with wealth estimated at £400m. The family firm is the Pearson Media Group and his family seat is Cowdray Park in West Sussex. (£118,000)

Cadogan Estates Ltd: Charles G Cadogan, 8th Earl Cadogan, Tory donor and 18th on Sunday Times Rich List with fortune of £3.675m (£116,000)

Argyll Estates: 50,000 acre estate including Inveraray Castle, home to Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll (£126,000)

Sir Richard Sutton’s Settled Estates: Sir Richard Sutton, 9th Baronet, on the Sunday Times Rich List with wealth of £150m (£68,000)

Strathmore Estates Holding Ltd: Michael Bowes-Lyon, 18th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the Queen’s cousin and owner of Glamis Castle (£11,500)

Compton Estates – Castle Ashby Estate: seat of Lord Northampton, Spencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton. One of Britain’s wealthiest aristocrats, He is on Sunday Times Rich List with estimated wealth of £103m (£21,000)

Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust Ltd: owner of Grimsthorpe Castle is Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 28th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ancaster and grand daughter of Nancy Astor. Inherited Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire and Drummond Castle in Perthshire (£19,000)

Ragley Hall: the Warwickshire country estate of Henry Seymour, 9th Marquess of Hertford (£15,000)

Haddo Estate: Owned by Alexander Gordon, 7th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair (£42,000)

Moray Estates Development Company: John Douglas Stuart, 20th Earl of Moray, owner of Darnaway Castle (£10,000)

Hawarden Estate: Sir Erskine ‘William’ Gladstone, 7th Baronet, owner of Hawarden Castle in Flintshire. (£43,000)

Powis Castle Estates: Owned by John Herbert, 8th Earl of Powis (£34,000)

Viscount Asquith Estate: Raymond Asquith, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Asquith. Paternal great grandson of British prime minister Herbert Asquith (£17,000)

Knepp Castle Estate Office: A 3,500 acre Estate in West Sussex owned by Sir Charles Burrell, 10th Baronet, Owner of Knepp Castle (£15,000)

Blackmoor Estate Ltd: Owned by John Palmer, 4th Earl of Selborne, a conservative hereditary peer (£18,000)

‘Benefits Street’? More like ‘Benefits Manor’.

Queen’s corgis maul other dog – as crackdown starts on bad owners

Princess Beatrice’s pet dog nearly had its ear bitten off by the Queen’s corgis, it has been revealed. Worryingly for the royal household, the news comes as a crackdown on irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs was announced.

A source told the Daily Mail:

“It was really nasty. The Queen’s dog boy was taking the corgis for a walk and they were joined by the Norfolk terriers … The next thing we knew there were horrific yelps and screams”

It is not without irony that the incident coincides with the toughening of the regime covering dangerous dogs. New guidelines for judges could mean tougher penalties for owners of dangerously out of control dogs — including custodial sentences of up to 18 months.

Liz should be grateful the new regime only applies to attacks on humans.

Prince Charles billed taxpayer £20,000 for trip to … London!

London resident Prince Charles incurred expenses of £20,000 to visit poverty-stricken areas of the capital hit by the riots last summer, official documents have revealed. Charles and Camilla flew down from Aberdeen to London and back using a luxurious jet aircraft which had previously been shunned by the Queen because it was too expensive.

The heir to the throne flew down in a BAe 146 jet — interior pictured below — toured Tottenham, Hackney, Lambeth and Croydon before being whisked back to Scotland.

By way of contrast, the prime minister spends just £2,000 on a trip to Afghanistan.

The palace has even tried to spin a £200,000 increase in royal spending as a “real terms decrease”.

Gay rights “waffle”: homophobic coverage of Bercow address to Queen

John Bercow baffled many with his references to a “kaleidoscope Queen” in his tribute to the monarch yesterday. But with his connection to a gay rights group of the same name, the right wing press seems to have gone berserk — with write-ups of the event dripping with homophobia.

By comparison with their peers, The Daily Express was a model of moderation, reporting:

“Commons Speaker John Bercow provoked scorn yesterday after hailing the growth of gay rights while giving his speech to the monarch calling her “a kaleidoscope Queen of a kaleidoscope country.”

The Daily Mail, as one might well expect, was a little more hostile to Bercow, whose recently published coat of arms including an LGBT rainbow and pink triangles. Their article was headlined:

“Get on with it, you Bercow! Cameron looks ratty as Speaker hijacks the Queen’s Jubilee address to waffle on about gay rights”

But the award for foaming-at-the-mouth incensed bigotry has to go to Damian Thompson over at the Daily Telegraph, who wrote ranted:

“…who the hell allowed that creep Bercow to hijack the event with his self-serving PC drivel about the “Kaleidoscope Queen” – and, worse, to insert a thinly disguised plug for gay marriage into a loyal address? The man is a disgrace to our public life. I hope readers share my anger.”

They don’t mind gays or anything, just as long as they do it in the privacy of their own home away from the Queen.

Nadine Dorries blocked from Queen’s diamond jubilee Speech

Nadine Dorries was blocked from entering Westminster Hall for the Queen’s 60th anniversary speech, Scrapbook can reveal. The Mid-Bedfordshire MP rocked up in all her finery, only to be turned away by security.

Looks like she forgot her ticket.

UPDATE (06:53) »She's now on Twitter claiming she got in via another entrance. Are there chimneys in the Palace of Westminster?

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Is the Duchess of Cambridge just a right royal clothes horse?

Notwithstanding International Women’s Day, the Duchess of Cambridge’s is getting her usual treatment from the media: as a royal clothes horse. No sooner had Kate’s Episode shoes touched the gravel on her tour with the in-laws, than the broadcast media parroted what they had been briefed – what she was wearing.

Being fans of quality gentleman’s tailoring, we rang the Royal press office to find out what Prince Philip was wearing on the trip:

Scrapbook: Can you tell us what the Duke of Edinburgh was wearing today?
Press officer: Pardon?
Scrapbook: Can you tell us what Prince Philip was wearing?
Press officer: Sorry, we don’t have any details on that

They did, however, volunteer that the queen was wearing a cerise dress and coat with black trim by Angela Kelly. In contrast with Liz and Kate, one wonders what difference could account for the fact of Philips clothing not being a matter of public record?

While there was a sartorial element to today’s excursion — having watched a fashion show, Kate will judge a shoe competition of De Montfort University design students — royal column inches are dominated by what she is wearing. A summary of recent coverage:

  • St Pancras (Today): teal suit by LK Bennett, hat by James Lock (Daily Mirror)
  • Fortnum and Mason (1st March): Queen and Kate wear colour co-ordinate outfits (Daily Telegraph)
  • Oxford (21st February): brown dove-patterned dresscoat Irish designer Orla Kiely (The Sun)
  • Liverpool (14th Feb): £269 coat from Hobbs with £59 black polo neck (Daily Mail)
  • National Portrait Gallery (8th Feb): grey-coat dress by Jesire (Daily Mail)

While there is undoubtedly a large audience for news of Kate’s fashion mores, should national broadcasters be leaving the finer details to Grazia magazine and WhatKateWore.com?

Women. Know your limits (wearing clothes).

Fortnum & Mason occupied by 85 year-old grandmother and family

Fortnum & Mason has been occupied by “scroungers” for the second time in nearly a year. A trio of troublemakers from the same family led their entourage in protesting against 14% cuts to their benefits. Inkeeping with DWP policy, a series of complex benefits including the Civil List have been replaced with a single handout: the Sovereign Support Grant.

The invasion is believed to have been instigated by a woman from West London named locally as “Mrs Windsor”. The 85 year old grandmother, who also uses the pseudonym “Elizabeth II”, made a beeline for the honey and preserves section, while her favourite daughter-in-law, Camilla, headed for baked goods.

Scrapbook is reassured to the offenders make their getaway in style. The £5 million custom made Bentley State Limousine — which boasts kevlar-reinforced tyres, a hermetically-sealed cabin and a maximum speed of 135mph – was described by Sky News as “just like a London taxi”.

No benefits were scrounged in the making of this post.

Tory MPs queue to support Commons motion on £80m royal yacht

The Queen weeps as her previous yacht is decommissioned

Following David Cameron’s apparent agreement to Michael Gove’s proposal for a new royal yacht, an Early Day Motion (EDM) has been put forward by MPs supporting the idea. Having already gathered 19 signatures, predominantly from Conservative MPs, it will continue a debate which wiser Tory hacks would have buried.

The EDM calls for:

“the Government to appoint a Minister to examine options, through sponsorship and donation, for producing a new Royal Yacht in this jubilee year, without recourse to public funds, as a tribute to Her Majesty…”

The last yacht was decommissioned in 1997 and the Labour government decided against a replacement on the grounds of cost. The projected expense of a new yacht has ranged between £60m and £80m, and even proposals to fund it through charitable donations rather than government funds will attract criticism when the economy is in the doldrums.

With Tory hawks turning their attentions towards the Falklands, however, perhaps Elizabeth II can lead a flotilla to the South Atlantic.

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