Thursday, November 23, 2006

Housing Mandelson

Ah, Peter, Peter; always renowned as a man with expensive tastes, it seems that Master Mandelson has once more set his grubby feet upon the property ladder. Naturally, I'm very happy for him: being able to afford a delightful £2.4 million property in Primrose Hill must be very lovely for him. What a lucky chap he is.

In fact, he must be very fucking lucky, because the numbers really don't add up.
What intrigues me is where Mandelson got the money from.

The stamp duty alone on £2.4 million comes to £96,000, which would account for the lion's share of his £160,000 salary as a European Commissioner, even allowing for the generous expenses and favourable tax regime afforded to EU employees.

That's, of course, if he paid stamp duty in full on this property and didn't pull the same scam he did on his flat in Notting Hill, where he "apportioned" certain fixtures and fittings - an old Ascot water heater, a few beaten-up kitchen units - to bring the headline purchase price below the threshold at which higher-rate tax kicks in.

Now, let us assume that Peter is a good enough risk that some bank lent him seven times his annual salary (which I believe that the Abbey National will do in special circumstances), then that gives him a mortgage of £1,120,000. That's still a wee bit short of £2.4 million.

So, where has the other £1.3 million come from?
Mandy does get a £21,000 housing allowance, but I would imagine that all goes towards paying for his Brussels residence in the exquisitely-named Rue des Six Jeunes Hommes, where he holds court with his Madame Pompadour, Reinaldo.

Stop, wait just a second! He gets £160,000 salary and £21,000 housing allowance as Trade Commissioner? Fucking hell! Mandy's fucking housing allowance alone is more than I have ever earned on as a salary! And none of my employers have ever given me a housing allowance of even £1. I kind of assumed that that was what, well, one's salary was for. God, I'm a real dupe thinking that I should be able to house myself merely on the money that I am paid. God, I love the way in which my taxes are spent, don't you?

And isn't Mandy worth every, single, sodding penny of it, eh? Narey a fuck-up on his watch; no siree!
You may remember that Mandelson borrowed £373,000 from fellow minister Geoffrey Robinson to buy his first house in Notting Hill and then lied to his building society to obtain another £150,000 - a criminal offence which should have led to him being sent to prison.

When he was rumbled over the Robinson loan, Mandelson was forced to sell the house.

But although he repaid the money, he kept the profit of £250,000. This was an ill-gotten gain, obtained by criminal deception.

This is very true, of course. Still, if we count that really rather nice lump sum, Mandy still has to find a million quid or so.
His mother died in February this year, leaving a shade under £1.45 million. I would imagine most of this would be the value of her house in Golders Green, given the exorbitant rise in North London property prices over the past few years.

Oh, that'll do it. Except...
Thanks to Gordon Brown�s greedy and cynical refusal to raise tax thresholds in line with inflation, death duties at 40 per cent kick in at £285,000.

So that would grab around £580,000 out of the estate, leaving £865,000 to be divided between Mandy and his older brother.

After legal costs, funeral expenses, estate agents� fees and assorted sundries, my guess is that Mandy will have walked away with just over £400,000.

Oh, well, we're still about £600,000 short then. And remember, I've assumed that he has been able to borrow seven times his salary. If one takes the more usual four and a half times, he is nearer a million quid short.
Even if Mandy has taken out a monster mortgage and with the profits from his previous property deals (including the bent quarter of a million, which should at the very least have gone to charity), it must have been tight.

Unless, of course, Reinaldo has come into some money from a rich aunt in Brazil.

Of course, I am absolutely certain that the whole purchase is very much above board, right and proper. After all, it's not as though Mandy has previous, is it? Oh, no, wait a second...

In the end, we are just going to have to trust the slippery, unprincipled bastard. I know that I do, don't you?

UPDATE: I might have to start adding The Spine's take to every post I make!


James Higham said...

Good to see you back with a vengeance. As for Mandelson and his crew, with the greatest of modesty, I think I have not so long ago provided the solution to the EU. It's all in the diagram.

Anonymous said...

All British ex-ministers, however humble their origins become have become hugely rich by the time they retire. This is a law of nature and not to be questioned.

Anonymous said...

DK, I'm sure I won't be able to keep up with every one of your stories. But this one really made me *very* angry and I lack your dexterity with profanity. :)

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