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Croydon South hopeful will remain company shareholder if elected

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THE candidate most likely to be the next MP for Croydon South says he intends to remain "one of a number of shareholders" in his development investment company were he elected.

The Tories' candidate for the seat, Chris Philp, told the Advertiser he would step aside from any executive or management role in Pluto Capital, the company he set that finances residential developments in London and the South-East.

The 37-year-old added he did not think remaining a non-majority shareholder would pose a potential conflict of interest with his work as an MP, adding "all kinds of people own shares in private companies," and "it all gets declared on the register anyway."

He said his business experience, which includes starting his first company aged 24 and selling it for £80 million four years later, would be valuable in Parliament.

"Relatively few people in Parliament have got real business experience," he said. "I think one of the reasons I won the selection is that people in the meeting quite liked the idea of having an MP who has got experience in the real world."

The candidate's work with Pluto has given him experience of many of the development policies affecting the borough as elsewhere – although he said he has not financed any developments in Croydon.

He set up Pluto Finance, the wing of Pluto Capital that works in the UK and South-East, in 2010 after the financial crash slowed banks' lending to developers.

The company's website says it has funded "thirty projects in the past few months alone," listing recent successes including 20 houses and eight flats on the outskirts of Southampton and converting a stately home in Surrey into 11 luxury apartments.

In an article in Property Week last year, Mr Philp said developers "needed help" to make schemes viable again, and suggested that "in areas of economic deprivation, section 106 payments and social housing obligations could be suspended for two years to help make new schemes viable again."

Speaking to the Advertiser this week, he said he believed social obligations risked pushing up the cost of the homes, adding: "In poor areas you want to make the private housing as cheap as you possibly can."

Croydon South hopeful will remain company shareholder if elected


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