You couldn’t make it up! In today’s ‘Evening Standard’;
“The wife of the new Bank of England Governor has sparked fury by suggesting that the couple are struggling to find a place to live in London despite receiving a £5000 a week taxpayer-funded housing subsidy.
Diana Carney tweeted a link to a news story about the French President Francois Hollande scaling back punitive taxes on the rich said to have triggered an exodus of wealthy Parisians to London.
The British born Oxford graduate, who runs a left of centre think tank Canada2020, complained in the tweet: “Maybe I’ll be able to find a place to live in London after all.”
But the comment, which comes days before the Government’s new “bedroom tax” on thousands of London housing benefit claimants comes into force, was condemned as insensitive by campaigners.
Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour group on Westminster council, said: “Even if she is being ironic, the fact is she and her husband are being paid a £5000 a week subsidy when the very poorest are having £17 a week of public support taken away.”
“Presumably this public subsidy reflects the fact that housing costs in central London are very high. But if it is acceptable to subsidise the Governor of the Bank of England how come the very poorest people who already live in central London are being demonised and run out of town?”
There are currently 166 properties listed for rent between £4,500 and £5,000 a week in some of the most exclusive addresses in London, on the Rightmove property website.
They range from a 7 bedroom mansion with an 111 ft garden in Hampstead to a luxurious four bedroom lateral apartment on Park Lane.
Mrs Carney’s husband Mark, a former £1 million a year Goldman Sachs banker, takes over the reins from Mervyn King at Threadneedle Street in July.
Mr Carney, currently governor of the Bank of Canada, will receive a salary of £624,000 and a £250,000 a year housing allowance.
Asked about the scale of the allowance by MPs on the Treasury select committee last year Mr Carney said: ”The housing allowance relates to the fact that I’m moving from one of the cheapest capitals (Ottowa) to one of the most expensive capitals. It’s a relatively common arrangements for senior executives.”
Labour MP John Mann, a member of the committee, said of Mrs Carney’s comment: ”Her husband is getting a housing allowance that is more than many of my constituents earn in ten years.
“I would be happy to help her find suitable accommodation. I’m prepared to move out of my London flat for her, which will be available at just 4 per cent of her housing allowance.”
The so called “bedroom tax” comes into force on Monday next week. It is estimated that around 80,000 low income families will have their benefits cut if they are deemed to have a spare room in their council or housing association home.
Those with one “spare” room would lose 14 per cent while those with two or more would lose 25 per cent. A report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee today warned that the chance could have a “severe impact” on Britain’s poorest families.