Councillor Chris Devine (Conservative – Wiltshire) Named and Shamed

Councillor Chris Devine (Conservative – Wiltshire) Named and Shamed

9:11 AM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago 114

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Ever since the Summer Budget we have been encouraging Property118 members to actively lobby their local elected officials to explain the real life consequences of Clause 24 of The 2015 Finance Bill (Restrictions on Finance Cost Relief For Individual Landlords).scrouge

The vast majority of responses have been gratitude for highlighting the consequences of clause 24 and the increased homelessness issues it is likely to create. Slowly but surely we are amassing a growing level of public sector support, and concern in terms of how the consequences of a shrinking or stagnating private rented sector will affect local economies and homelessness as of 2017 when the new legislation begins to get phased in.

Below is the shocking response received from Councillor Chris Devine (Conservative – Wiltshire) to a very polite, very well worded report sent to him by one of our Property118 campaign team members.

Councillor Chris Devine - Wiltshire - Conservative

Chris Devine Cllr.

“So Gareth, how many properties do you own?   Your email is deeply flawed, do you seriously believe that the `buy to let` brigade give a fig for those they are exploiting with high rents and short tenancies. 

Stop thinking about your own pocket and think about society, you lot are nothing, but, parasites and the sooner you are taxed out of existence the better. 

Just because I am a Conservative does not mean that I do not have a social conscience, well done to George Osbourne.  As for you. Try doing some public service and stop snivelling. 

Chris Devine, Cllr”

Needless to say, we were shocked!

We asked Cllr James Fraser (Conservative – Stevenage), who has been incredibly supportive of our campaigning, what could be done.

Cllr Fraser immediately wrote the following email to Cllr Chris Devine …

“Dear Cllr Devine,

I refer to your recent email to Gareth Wilson, a friend of mine who, like me, is somewhat surprised by the level of rudeness and ignorance shown in your response (not to mention the lack of grammatical skill nor the simple ability to spell Osborne).

Gareth had correctly tried to bring to your attention the impossible position small investors and businesses were being put in by some government policy that, directly or indirectly, several million people will be affected by over the next four years.

Perhaps not surprisingly, you have proven how little an understanding you have of the situation. Has it not occurred to you that many of your constituents, even people who voted for you, are investors in homes? Do you feel that the large percentage of Conservative MPs who rent property are ‘parasites’? Or is Wiltshire unique among English counties in that they have an unending supply of council stock to offer to the tenants you would so willingly displace from their privately-rented homes?

Incredibly, you feel that insulting people who contribute vast sums of money and endless hours of time to alleviating the pressure on council stock is you having a conscience and doing something useful for society. What a strange way to view yourself.

You don’t offer any explanation for why Gareth’s email is ‘deeply flawed’, probably because it isn’t. The information contained within it is referenceable from the highest and best researched of sources and luckily has been received with a lot more intelligence by other Conservative councillors nationwide.

Your deeply offensive descriptions and frankly ill-informed opinions are an embarrassment to those of us who are both Conservatives and who work in housing as a profession. They fall well short of standards expected of public officials. To this end I have reported your email to your group leader, the council Chief Exec and your local press, who ought to know how their elected representatives address members of the public expressing their genuine concerns.


Cllr James Fraser
Deputy Leader of the Conservatives
Stevenage Borough Council”

Cllr Fraser then followed this up by making the following formal complaint to Cllr Devine’s boss ….

“Dear Cllr Britton,

I feel I must bring to your attention the reply below received from Cllr Devine after an email from one Gareth Wilson outlining some consequences of the government’s Clause 24.

Gareth Wilson had written a well-researched and intelligent piece to bring to your attention a ruinous policy that will affect millions of people nationwide and no doubt a good many of your constituents.

This reply falls well short of the standards required of a public official. To call the writer – a friend of mine – a  ‘parasite’ who Devine wants ‘taxed out of existence’ and who should ‘stop snivelling’ is deeply offensive and worthy of reporting to your local press.

Devine clearly has no knowledge of the sector, nor its contribution to relieving pressure on council housing stock, nor the kind of care and commitment it takes to be a private landlord, of which I too am such a worthless parasite who should clearly do more for society.


Cllr James Fraser

Deputy Leader, Conservatives

Stevenage Borough Council”

Related articles – LINK


Gary Dully

9:47 AM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Tory Councillor Supports Massive Rent Hikes For His Constituants!
Tory Councillor Hates Private Tenants and Supports Rent Increases
Tax Landlords Into Oblivion says Tory "Buffoon"
Tory Councillor Supports Evicting The Poor
Tory Councillor Has Houses To Spare (In His Fat Head)
Tory Councillor Reported For Gross Prejudice against Tenants
Tory Councillor Wants All Private Landlords To Be Bankrupted
Torŷ Councillor Backs Scottish Evictions By English Landlords
Tory Councillor Wants To Evict Poorest Welsh Tenants
Tory Councillor Insists On Rent Rises For The Poor

For those with Twitter etc, - try a few of these on him.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:53 AM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

This man is clearly in the wrong party. He should join Class War.

dom glynn

10:28 AM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

So glad he's not my councillor...

Mandy Thomson

11:41 AM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ros ." at "24/12/2015 - 09:53":

I agree but I think even many on the far left would take exception to the tone (though not the substance) of that response! Just what is the man on??

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

11:52 AM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "24/12/2015 - 09:47":

He's not in Scotland Gary, he's a Councillor for Salisbury in Wiltshire.

Recardo Knights

11:56 AM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Does make you wonder if politicians endorse recommendations to be made law without reading or understanding what it is about.

I forwarded the letter by the Tory Councilor posted on this site some months ago, to my MP Tom Break, Liberal Democrat for Carshalton and Wallington in Surrey. I asked if he understood that LL's would be taxed on money they had to pay to Mortgage providers, for their mortgages.

I pointed out the problems (as explained) and asked if he had read and agreed to Clause 24, and if he would be prepared to spread the word to other MP's and have this overturned.

I received an email back to ask for my full name and address to make sure I am in his constituency some time later. After replying to his request I received a letter from him on House of Commons paper.

He said he did not receive the copy of the tory councillors letter I sent as an attachment- -- MP speak for didn't get past my aid, secretary etc.
BUT he does understand the concerns I am raising (without reading the letter) but as it is a taxation matter he has taken it up with David Gauke MP (who maybe part of the problem), and he will make sure I receive the reply. That letter was dated 25 Nov, and I'm still waiting for the reply.

I will scan and return his letter and ask if anyone is any wiser now it has been explained. I will also ask where is the reply from David Gauke as, 4 weeks has gone by and I would like to post it on this forum.

Mandy Thomson

12:14 PM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Whatever Cllr Devine's opinion of landlords, or indeed, any other group in society short of criminals, terrorists etc, there is NO excuse for his despicable comments in a response to a reasonable and polite enquiry from one of his own constituents, no matter how much he might disagree. If I had spoken to customers like that when I worked at a job centre, I would have rightly expected to have been disciplined.

I would also like to answer (although I know it doesn't deserve a response) his comment: "Stop thinking about your own pocket and think about society...". I would respond that if I believed Clause 24 WAS a good thing for society and the economy as a whole, DESPITE being a landlord, I WOULD support it.

Mandy Thomson

12:22 PM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "24/12/2015 - 12:14":

I would also add that it would seem Cllr Devine did not demur when it came to lining his OWN pocket when he voted with the rest of the Conservative councillors in favour of increased allowances:

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

12:24 PM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Apparently Cllr Devine got "excited" about plans to open a lap-dancing bar in his town. That made me 🙂

"The committee were split on the proposal with Cllr Chris Devine saying it was an "exciting" proposal."

His colleagues disagreed, the plans were rejected. Anybody care to add a punchline? LOL

Mandy Thomson

12:35 PM, 24th December 2015, About 7 years ago

I have just sent this Tweet to the Conservative party:

.@Conservatives Following ill conceived Clause 24 tax reform & the attitude of a Cons. Cllr, I wish to resign my membership from the party.— Mandy Thomson (@lodgersite) December 24, 2015

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