It wouldn’t be the weekend if there wasn’t a nice wee story about another upper class fraudster with a housing benefit story to tell. This one is, at least in some ways, slightly different from the rest.
So far we have covered the stories of Life Peers, little men and women who have managed, by hook or by crook, to get themselves a seat in the Lords and pinch a pot of money from us. There are those who have blamed it all on letting little oinks into the Upper House. Real aristos wouldn’t do that sort of thing, they said .
Well, just to prove that little theory wrong, meet The Fifteenth Viscount Falkland, one of 90 hereditary peers still sitting in the Lords. And this time not a Labour or Conservative, but Liberal Democrat peer. He’s had a fine little number going on for a good while now.
It seems that despite living in Clapham, he has registered as his main home, a two bedroom oast house in Kent which, wait for it, he doesn’t even own! By doing this, he has neatly managed to avail himself of an estimated £200,000 of our tax pounds.
Lucius Edward William Plantagenet Cary (nice name) has been claiming this money for at least a decade. He and his wife bought their London House in 1990 with no mortgage and both are on the electoral role there, and use it as an address for their company directorships. Neighbours say they are rarely away.
Neighbours at the oast house, which is actually owned by the Viscountess’s aunt, have never heard of them, or seen them.
It refreshing that the not terribly Noble Lord says quite openly that he doesn’t live there, but that it was in the rules that he could do it. “I didn’t do it to make the money”, he says. “I did it to meet the expenses of my life. I don’t have any other income.”
Awwwwwwwwwwwww! Poor wee scone. Has he forgotten about the directorships?
Here’s my advice to Your Lordship. Go to the Department of Work and Pensions, tell them that you are now 74 years old and that you want your state pension. They will arrange a payment of around £100 a week for you to say thank you for working all these years. If you're lucky and budget carefully you may be able to feed yourself and keep warm, although the odds are against it. But it’s good enough for other people, so why would it not be good enough for you?