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SchNEWS reveals how benefit farmers Baron Homes put the boot into tenants and squatters.

Another Brighton squat was raided by hired security goons last month. They forced their way into the newly-opened 'Apothecary' building and punched some of the squatters in a brazen display of intimidation. The cops swiftly arrived to serve and protect, only to simply watch from outside as chaos proceeded indoors.

So far, so typical, in this post - Mike Weatherley age of Brighton squatting. But the company who own this property are Baron Estates, part of the Baron Homes group. This particular scumbag rentier cartel make their profits from benefits farming, charging Brighton and Hove Council £150 per week per person to house 'homeless' people in dingy, overcrowded and unsuitable bedsits.

Baron Homes own and administer properties in Grand Parade and Brunswick Square.

SchNEWS spoke to one teenager, David, housed in Baron Homes 'emergency temporary accomodation'.

About a hundred people are housed in three separate blocks here. Many 18 or under, probably thirty of us altogether. Obviously the people here have a wide range of issues, they're drug addicts, alcoholics or they have mental health issues. There are definitely a few who are suicidal. It can be a frightening place to live.”

David described the living conditions to us: “I have a plastic mattress and my own cooker, technically I have a lock on the door but they have keys and in any case its quite flimsy. There are two toilets for the whole block and one communal shower – they might be cleaned once a fortnight. We're banned from allowing guests (even family) into our rooms.”

Crucially, Baron Homes' tenants have to find an additional £10 a week 'service charge' from their usually low incomes. If Brighton City Council are handing over £150 a week per tenant then that's in excess of £40,000 a week going from council tax payers straight into the coffers of Baron Homes. To then ask for another tenner a week each seems (to SchNEWS at least) a little bit greedy.

Brighton is the homelessness capital of Sussex, as many people come to the city seeking opportunities in the City by the Sea (TM) end up broke, desperate and thrown on the trashheap. The percentage of people using Basics banks and emergency accommodation is so high that the council simply can't provide enough property or food. The new squatting laws have meant that as the poor and homeless try to organise their own accommodation they are ruthlessly evicted, leaving them with nowhere to turn except for 'emergency accomodation'. Nice little earner!

For an in depth look at Baron Homes and their antics as well as their links to their slightly more upmarket Baron Estates check out Eye of the Needle blog

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UPDATE: The sh*t's well and truly hit the fan since we published this interview last week... Stay tuned for more SchNEWS from the front...

Twitter: @SchNEWS