Husband David Cameron, the UK prime minister, also stands to benefit and the investment may be considered an undeclared – or at least underdeclared – financial asset of the Cameron family.
Some readers may wish to dispute that; they are urged to consider the case of ousted Icelandic prime minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, whose wife’s financial assets were considered to be his also.
The first of Mrs Cameron’s moneyspinners is at Conesby Farm, part of Normanby Estate Holdings, the firm run by her father. In 2013 that business was valued at £5.7 million, meaning her three per cent holding was worth £200,000, making it unlikely that it is currently worth £77,000, as we were told earlier this week. It also seems unlikely that some calamity struck the firm.
The plan was to put more than 1,000 homes on the Conesby Farm site, boosting the value of the land from £8,000 an acre to £300,000 an acre, meaning that, with planning permission, the site could be worth more than £20 million.
In 2013, thanks to then-new planning rules laid down by David Cameron’s government, all seemed rosy for Conesby Farm:
The company is currently attempting to persuade the local council to officially designate Conesby Farm as one of its sites for residential development, which would effectively mean that the scheme was given the go-ahead by planning officials.
However, the planning consultant involved in the development told The Daily Telegraph this week that if this failed they will put in a formal application and fight for permission on the basis of national Government guidelines.
Under the controversial new planning rules, developers can appeal against a council if a planning application is rejected. If a council has not identified areas to build houses for the next five years and the proposed development is “sustainable”, the council is likely to be over-ruled.
And now? This Writer would appreciate any further information as news sources seem to have gone very quiet about it.
It seems clear that Mr Cameron’s legislation was likely to help the Conesby Farm application come to fruition, so there seems a clear conflict of interest. And there’s also the matter of him being an indirect beneficiary of any income that comes to his wife as a result, even though Downing Street didn’t want to acknowledge such a thing in 2013:
A Downing Street spokesperson said, “Samantha Cameron’s shareholdings in Normanby Estate Holdings were properly declared to the Cabinet Secretary and the Government’s Head of Propriety and Ethics shortly after David Cameron became Prime Minister.
“There was no requirement to make any further declaration. As the shareholdings are not held by the Prime Minister, there is no requirement to declare them to the separate Parliamentary Register. The Cabinet Secretary is satisfied that all procedures have been followed correctly and there is no conflict of interest for the Prime Minister.”
I beg to differ.
The other likely source of profit for Mrs Cameron comes in the form of two wind farms. The first, built in 2009, consists of eight turbines at Bagmoor on her father’s Lincolnshire estate – and brings in £350,000 a year in rent money from the operators.
The second consists of six turbines, is due to be completed this year (2016) and will rake in £250,000 a year in rent money.
Mrs Cameron’s three per cent stake in her father’s business means she would take £18,000 per year.
That may not seem much, but it’s more than anyone receives on benefits – and let us remember that Mrs Cameron has done nothing to earn that money. She was given her shares by her father – coincidentally (or is it?) in 2009, the year the first windfarm became operational.
So it seems the Cameron family may be pocketing £18,000 a year from windfarms, having done nothing to deserve it, with a further windfall of £600,000 possible if the housing application is approved – possibly due to legislation passed by Mr Cameron’s government.
“No conflict of interest?” Judge for yourself.
It seems an inordinate sum of money to be squeezed from what Dodgy Dave calls “a field in Scunthorpe”.
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