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Parliamentary clash over £300m estates deal

The £300 million financing deal secured against six public housing estates is a mortgage on the blocks but not the flats inside, the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, told Parliament this week, as he insisted no one’s home was at risk.

Mr Picardo and GSD MP Roy Clinton clashed across the floor of the House during Thursday’s session over whether the “institutional investment” – the government’s preferred description of the deal - could be termed “a mortgage”.

Mr Picardo said to call it a mortgage was to “mischaracterise” the deal in a way that suggests that people’s homes are at risk.

“I think I have made it abundantly clear that what I was complaining about was that [the GSD] were politically trying to refer to it as a mortgage in order to create the spectre that people are going to somehow have their homes at risk,” he told the House.

Mr Clinton, who holds shadow responsibility for public finances, pointed out that he was not a lawyer and said he was merely trying to clarify the use of terminology.

The GSD MP showed Parliament copies of documents he had obtained from the public register, all of which had the words “Deed of Mortgage” at the top of the page.



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