Dear London Mayoral candidates – the Mansion Tax isn’t a “tax on London”

6th January, 2015 3:34 pm

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Yesterday a press release came out from Scottish Labour confirming that the party’s first election pledge – 1,000 new nurses for Scotland funded by the Mansion Tax. We covered the story last night, but there wasn’t a great deal of interest in the story (outside of Scotland). And why would there be? Murphy was – in effect – pretty much re-announcing confirmed Labour policy. A Mansion Tax will be levied on Britain’s most expensive homes, owned only by a super (asset) wealthy 100,000 households. That Mansion Tax – alongside a levy on tobacco companies and a crackdown on tax avoidance – will pay for extra doctors, nurses and other NHS workers to help rebuild the jewel in the crown of our public services – the National Health Service.

We already know that the Tories are trying to make hay (or should that be campaign donations) out of a Mansion Tax plan that will impact on a fraction of 1% of UK households, what’s depressing is how many are willing to give succour to those attacks.

Now it’s common knowledge that the vast majority of homes in the UK that cost over £2 million are based in London and the South East – largely because the UK property market is fundamentally broken, locking out millions of families and young people from even getting onto the property ladder at all. Nowhere is that broken market more profoundly on display than in London, where a box room will cost you the best part of a month’s wages. The reality for millions of Londoners is low-quality, expensive and precarious housing.

We’ve also heard a disproportionate cavalcade of criticism of the Mansion Tax in the media. That’s because the average newspaper editor or owner is far more likely to live in a multi-million pound home in Kensington and Chelsea or Westminster (the two boroughs with almost half of the properties hit) than Aberystwyth or Skegness. The same goes for the wealthy, detached and out of touch celebrities like Myleene Klass. That (and Murphy’s no doubt deliberate invocation of London in a bid to win support for UK-wide redistribution in Scotland) is why even a story about more nurses for Scotland has to be about London. For some, it seems, every story is secretly one about wealthy homeowners in small parts of London.

Today, this story that has so far received little coverage (sorry Jim), found itself on the front pages of both the Telegraph and The Times overnight, despite having gained somewhere between zero and very little traction anywhere outside Scotland in the hours following the announcement. Was this a coincidence? An expression of priveleged self-interest? A “steer” given to friendly newspapers from Tory HQ to distract from their failed dossier-based attack on Ed Balls and Labour’s spending plans? We’ll probably never know, but it gave a story legs that otherwise was going nowhere.

And now it’s being helped along by those who should frankly know better, but are for reasons best known to themselves doing the Tory press office’s job for them.

It’s depressing to hear Labour candidates (today Abbott, Lammy and Jowell in the Standard and then Abbott again on Radio 4) for Mayor of London wading into the “debate” and playing the Tory tune about the Mansion Tax being a “tax on London”. That’s, frankly, cobblers. If there’s a “tax” on Londoners it’s the high rents, high house prices and spiralling travel costs that come with being a resident of Europe’s biggest city. A tax that would hit – at most – 3% of the wealthiest households in London in no more a “tax on London” than the top rate of tax is a “tax on Britain”. Both have the same in common – few of us will ever be wealthy enough or lucky enough to get to pay it.

(And incidentally – it’s not a “tax on the South East” either, because it’s ludicrous to treat the South East as a single area of the country. How many £2 million homes are there in Thurrock, Harlow or Hastings? How many people will be hit by the Mansion Tax in Thanet? But that’s because frightening millions who live in London and the South East is more effective for those who oppose the Mansion Tax than noting it’s a small number of the most expensive homes in places like Chelsea and Surrey).

This kind of consistent and noisy attack from Labour politicians on a flagship Labour policy (one which is popular both with party members and the electorate) is exactly the kind of damage that can cost seats in an election year. It’s part of the reason why I said time and time again that candidates running for Mayor during an election year was a dreadful idea.

Some parts of London – the well-heeled, the comfortable, the areas that have done best at a time when the country as a whole is struggling to get by – will be hit, in part, by this tax on the asset super-rich. 3% of households in London will pay the tax if Labour wins in May – but 100% of Londoners will benefit from the proceeds that will pay for more doctors and nurses in the capital. And yes, it’ll pay for more nurses in Scotland. And Manchester. And Leeds. And Plymouth. And even in Cameron’s constituency in Whitney. That’s thanks to a principle that the Labour Party stands firmly for – redistribution. The Labour Party should have no shame in saying that we will tax those who can afford it to pay for services that benefit us all. If that bothers some of the mayoral candidates – or anyone else in the Labour Party – then they may find they actually have an issue with progressive taxation, which is (still, even under this Tory government) the foundation of most government spending.

It’s incredibly depressing to watch the craven failure of many Labour Mayoral candidates to stand up for taxation on a tiny fraction of the richest Londoners. They may be the donors and supporters of some of the candidates (and who knows, perhaps even some of the candidates), but that 3% won’t decide who becomes Mayor of London. And someone who lives in the capital, I’m certainly going to find it very hard to back any mayoral candidate who I feel has put their ambition or the mayoral race in general ahead of electing a Labour government to serve the whole UK. They may say that they’re standing up for London, but they don’t speak for me – and I’d wager they don’t speak for most of the 97% of Londoners who live in less expensive locales.

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  • hup

    This is fatal. I will be voting Labour in the GE and want a Labour mayor but Lammy, Abbott and Jowell have irreversibly lost my vote. They have already declared before the election that their top priority is a tiny fraction of the richest people in the city. We can already infer from that that they will never take the housing crisis – i.e. the city’s number one problem – seriously.

    • Ian

      No. Their top priority is Lammy, Abbott and Jowell.

    • RogerMcC

      Can we really infer that?

      Yes their intervention was unhelpful but you can be both in favour of building lots more affordable homes and spout whatever nonsense will get you some decent ‘defender of London’ stories in the papers that are read by actual voters.

      It’s not pretty, it’s not noble and it’s not consistent but it is what you have to do if you are a serious politician who wants to win actual power in a bourgeois democracy.

      And whatever else you might say about him Ken certainly understood this.

      • Matthew Blott

        Hmm not sure about that. Why did he go round upsetting Jewish supporters and embracing Islamists?

        • treborc1

          Fort god sake….

          • Matthew Blott

            What do you mean by that?

        • RogerMcC

          That was of course one of my whatever you might says….

          But even there its a simple electoral calculation: way fewer Jews than Muslims & outside of a handful of N London wards with close-knit orthodox communities Jews less likely to vote en bloc.

          So if you are a cynical opportunist (or intelligent realist – take your pick) and have to pick one demographic over the other there really is no contest.

          Much same prob applied to Ken’s position re Lutfur Rahman regime.

          But Blairites for whom the tent is not big enough until every last Home Counties Phalangist has at least considered voting New Labour really cannot take the moral high ground here.

          What’s good for the goose etc….

    • Michael Murray

      I agree. There must be a candidate better than any of this lot.

  • Roland Dunn

    Yeah, uninspiring and feeble. The poison of New Labour lives on. Sadly.

  • Charlie_Mansell

    A very good post. I really hope Mayoral candidates carefully listen to London members who they hope to be nominated by in five months time. I’m not convinced many members are currently raising the mansion tax as an issue of concern. Those seeking to run our devolved institutions could instead flag up how London will play its part through its economic weight to help the UK stay united. London is better for having Scotland as part of the union and Scotland benefits economically from its union with London. This was the whole crux of the ‘No’ campaign and Jim Murphy is right to demonstrate that in very real terms otherwise the ‘vow’ means nothing. Similar brave Leadership from a London perspective would be to say that the small minority of Londoners (‘the 1%’ – who are around 3% in London) who have not been impacted by the recession need to contribute towards a National Service that September’s Scottish referendum strongly endorsed

  • mara jones

    Luckily for me I own eight properties in Aberdeen (6 Bed 5 bath with a pool). Each worth £1.5 million each. So I don’t pay a thing. Unlike the person who owns a single 3 bed house in central London. Gotta love the math of the mansion tax eh?

    • Michael Murray

      Eight properties each worth £1. 5 million? Then I think you should pay the Mansion Tax. What do you think?

      • mara jones

        Yeah I should, as they are actually MANSIONS. but sadly Labour’s computer says no.

        • treborc1

          They are not worth the fabled 2 million so your fine, mind you Murphy may have a window tax soon. and like Germany a gutter and down pipe tax plus window tax and a tax on how many breaths you take. God would he dare have a kilt tax

    • Tom Sanders

      Will you marry me?

    • Matthew Blott

      Nice. How’d you get hold of them?

      • Danny

        The same way I got hold of my castle complete with a 40 foot water-slide into a moat full of Dom Perignon.

        • Matthew Blott

          Ah of course. I forgot if you bullshit to yourself you can have anything! I thought it a little odd that multiple mansion owning “mara jones” found her way to Labour List.

          • mara jones

            Yep I was being sarcastic to prove a point that the mansion tax is an ill thought out idea, that does not actually tax mansions or actual wealth, but virtual wealth if you decide to sell your family home. which you have paid for out of your income that you have already been taxed on.

          • Danny

            The very fact that you have to rely on hyperbole and fiction to support your argument does your position no credit. Just like Myleene Klass weakened her assertions with her nonsensical and ill-thought out water jibe.

            Look, I’ve just checked my online banking and have an account that pays interest monthly. For December, I received a few quid in interest but had 80 pence of it taken off for tax. It doesn’t bother me at all. I didn’t do anything to earn it so it doesn’t bother me if I’m taxed on it.

            I’d be of the same opinion if I had purchased a house for £200,000 in Hackney a couple of decades ago that was now worth over £2,000,000. Was it the fact that the carpets were replaced every 5 years that saw the value increase at an rate significantly above inflation? Or maybe because I hired a window cleaner? No, it was due to factors that you had nothing to do with. The desirability of the area thanks to investment, most of it from taxpayer funds in infrastructure. The attractiveness of the area to foreigners due to the policies of previous governments, policies paid for out of the taxpayer pot. But you seem to think it’s fair that you can achieve a thousand-fold increase in your personal worth, regardless of the fact that you enjoy that privileged position on the backs of your fellow taxpayers. That’s greed that beggars belief. Now, these fortunate people, even the cash-rich ones who have the option of converting a frozen asset into a massive mound of cash, are being asked to contribute a little bit back to the people who have assisted them in the rise in value of their house. The taxpayer.

            There are mechanisms in place to protect the cash-poor but asset-rich as well, mechanisms that I feel are pretty generous.

            I was in Waitrose last year and they were running a little thing for charity where you were given a green counter at a till and you could choose one of three charities to put the counter in after reading a little bit about each one. The charity with the most green counters would receive a generous donation from Waitrose. Now, imagine if you were presented with three charities; a family who, despite having a parent working full-time, is unable to feed their children AND heat their home; a local hospital that needs funds to hire an extra nurse so that cancer patients don’t have to wait weeks to receive treatment; a homeowner who purchased their London-pad in the 1980s for a couple of conkers now has a property worth £2.2 million and is asking for a bit of a help towards the 1% they are being ordered to pay on the £200,000 above £2 million quid.

            If people like you invested the energy you expend on the anger you display in the mansion tax and used the creativity required to create fictional situations to argue against it for causes of people in genuine need, the country would be a much better and fairer place.

            But don’t mind me, you keep getting riled on behalf of those poor, poor people with a personal worth that could feed and clothe 66,666 impoverished African children for a month.

          • treborc1

            He’s New labour Tory what does one expect.

          • mara jones

            So in your world, whatever I bought with my income, be clothes, cars, art etc. If any of these items were to rise in price through being desirable, I would have to pay the government. Whether I was willing to sell them for the money or not. I hear gold has risen quite quickly and steeply in price recently, Time to hide my jewellery then.

          • Danny

            The value of cars and jewellery has nothing to do with the area in which they are located nor the infrastructure that surrounds it. Taxpayer funded policies have pretty much no impact on their value. It’s an utterly irrelevant comparison.

            That said, it wouldn’t bother me entirely if the government introduced a tax on the amount over two million pounds if a car or necklace you bought for £200,000 was sold for over ten times that amount at a later date. And if you moaned about it, you’d make the pre-ghost vist Ebeneezer Scrooge look like Mother Teresa with your selfishness and greed.

            The types of people opposed to the mansion tax are the types of people who could win £5 million on the lottery and turn around and say, “Oh man, that sucks, the jackpot was £12 million last week”.

            Still, we’ve now had an entirely fictional situation and a completely irrelevant comparison used to oppose the mansion tax. If that’s all you’ve got, it’s not wonder that polling suggests a significant majority favour it.

          • mara jones

            were are getting away from my original point. which was that somebody that owns an actual huge mansion, with pool and helicopter pad, multiple garage space, games room etc. in the north, or in wales, will pay nothing. Where as some pensioner who bought their small 3 bed house decades ago, who does not want to move will have to pay. All because some artificial market says you are asset rich at the current time. And your ok with this?

          • Danny

            Absolutely.

            By the way, you do know that the majority of people who live in houses worth in excess of £2 million are not pensioners who bought their three bedroom house decades ago.

            You’ll note that I removed the word small, because these small three bedroom houses do not exist by normal standards of the word small. Slap SW3 in Right Move and set your limit to £2,000,000. The three bedroom houses and flats available at that price are beautiful and large. I live in a small three-bedroom semi-detached house. It wouldn’t matter where you put it in London, it would never be worth £2,000,000.

            Again, you are having to revert to hyperbole and fiction to support your position.

            A little old lady sitting in a Kensington three-bed she purchased in 1970 is better off in terms of personal wealth than your fella in a castle in North Wales with a helipad, swimming pool and garage with space for 16 cars and a spaceship. Regardless of whether you feel the property market is “artificial”. Furthermore, if the little old lady is genuinely impecunious (I’d love you to find me someone who lives in a house worth more than £2 million who is short of a penny or two, without making stuff up again) then they will be immune from the mansion tax until they sell their property and find themselves with upwards of £2 million in cold hard cash. I’m sure having to then settle your mansion tax bill will be a real hardship.

          • mara jones

            Maybe we should think up new ways to tax people?

            If only we had a tax on what we earn?
            Nope got that.
            If only we had a tax on money we saved?
            Nope got that
            If only we had a tax at the time we bought a house?
            Nope got that
            If only we had a tax for each year we owned a house?
            Nope got that
            If only we had a tax if we sold the house?
            Nope got that
            If only we had a tax when we died and left the house to loved ones?
            Nope got that.
            If only we had a tax on the number of windows your house has?
            Nope tried that one.

            Can you think of any new ones?

          • Danny

            You missed VAT, corpotation tax, fuel duty, vehicle excise duty. Your list is far from exhaustive, so if you were trying to make a point that we have an excessive number of taxes then you didn’t make it very well.

            I’m struggling as to what your point is. You don’t like any tax? How would that work?

            In your brain do roads, hospitals, doctor surgeries, schools, local authority offices etc build themselves? Do doctors, nurses, teachers and civil servants work for thin air?

            The fact of the matter is, despite the taxes you have listed and not listed, HM Treasury are not getting the tax revenues they had hoped for and need to run the services that their employers (the population of the UK) want. This is largely down to Osborne’s failed economic plan and the low skilled, low paid, low hour jobs that people are being forced into, but that’s for another discussion.

            With that in mind, money needs to be raised from somewhere else we kiss goodbye to the NHS, witness teachers running classes of 40 kids with no teaching assistants, we get used to hefty car repairs as potholes are left ignored, get used to a more dangerous society as police presence drops, expect significant waiting times for treatments for life-threatening ailments (unless you have money) and a whole lot more.

            To avoid this, where would you go for extra revenue? Poor people in council houses with an empty box-room or with children aged 4 and 6 who have their own room each I suspect.

          • mara jones

            Nope I would cut back on all the ridiculous pet projects. All government non jobs would go, Any aid to countries that don’t really need it these days. Benefits to people who can work but don’t want to. Having more money spent on prisons than schools. Un-necessary cosmetic vanity operations. IVF. PFI repayments. Just your basic government that treats tax payers money as sacred and that it should be spent wisely really.

          • Danny

            And yes, those millions of people on benefits through choice that only actually exist in the pages of the Daily Mail and are actually exceptionally rare in real life.

            Your naive if you think that the NHS crisis could be solved and the destruction of public services could be prevented by getting rid of a few “non-jobs”.

            Oh, and those people who can work and don’t want to? The majority are probably only on JSA and perhaps in receipt of a bit of housing benefit. If they get a job, which you seem to think is a walk in the park, the types of opportunities this government are creating are zero-hour deals on poverty pay. Instead of receiving benefits for job-hunting, they’ll simply receive almost as much in tax credits and will continue to be in receipt of their housing benefit. They won’t earn a great deal more than £10,000.00 a year so their tax contribution to the Treasury will be negligible.

            Austerity has failed. Even based on the Tories own terms. The cuts needed to eliminate the deficit through austerity alone would decimate the country. Therefore tax revenues need to be increased elsewhere. The mansion tax is one that will raise funds from people who won’t miss it. The best way to increase tax revenues will be to create better, stable jobs that pay a wage people can live on and a wage that will see them make significant contributions to the pot through income tax and NI. The latter will take a time (and a government that isn’t Tory), the mansion tax can be implemented quickly and start to raise a tiny fraction of the funds we need to save the NHS at the same time as reducing the deficit. Although the former, not the latter, should be something that any incoming Labour government prioritise. I don’t get the impression that they are.

    • Tommo

      And that is why the mansion tax is a silly idea

  • Dave Postles

    It would be more appropriate to increase the number of council tax bands, allowing local authorities to receive the revenue stream to build social housing. You could then argue that it was for the benefit of the affluent by providing affordable housing for the people whom they employ imputing shame on them for not making a concerted effort themselves to solve this ridiculous problem. As for the NHS, it’s time for an hypothecated tax which cannot be vired or diverted by some future government.

    • RogerMcC

      But that requires a council tax revaluation which is the one thing no party seems willing to even contemplate.

      In fact even the Poll Tax was sold to Margaret Thatcher primarily as a way of avoiding a long overdue rate revaluation and – however bizarre this may seem in retrospect – to repair the electoral damage done to the Tories in Scotland by the rate revaluation that they’d allowed to be done there in 1985.

      Agree its crazy but that’s the country we live in…..

      • Dave Postles

        I know. There has been a revaluation in Wales, I think, but no doubt that is regarded as fairly easy to accomplish.

        • RogerMcC

          And result of that Welsh revaluation (in 2005!) was:

          BBC News 24 September 2010

          Government rules out English council tax revaluation

          There will be no revaluation of council tax bands in England during this Parliament, the government has pledged.

          It means there will be no rise in local taxes for householders based solely on the increased value of their homes.

          Every property in England is in one of eight council tax bands, depending on value, and these were last set in 1993.

          The government said Labour had been “actively planning” to carry out a revaluation but Labour said its election manifesto had promised not to.

          ‘Financial worries’

          A revaluation was long overdue, but would prove highly unpopular with householders who found themselves in a higher band and therefore paying more in council tax, said the BBC’s Greg Wood.

          A revaluation in Wales in 2005 placed about a third of all homes there in a higher band.

          The government says that a rise from Band D – the benchmark for council tax – to Band E would cost an extra £320-a-year.

          The former Labour government had planned to revalue council tax bands in England in 2007, but announced in 2005 that it would postpone the decision until after the next general election.

          This is a cynical and misleading manipulation of facts based on what was ultimately a routine updating of the Valuation Office Agency’s records”Labour Party spokesman

          It said the delay was to allow the issue to be considered as part of a wider inquiry into local authority funding, but some commentators said at the time that the decision was also a reaction to the anger sparked by the Welsh revaluation.

          Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said the key thing was the relationship between the upper and lower bands of the tax, and they were roughly the same as when the tax was introduced.

          “I’ve always argued against a revaluation because we know from what happened in Wales that it tends to hit poorer families. Given that the bands are roughly in the same position as when council tax was first introduced then it seems to me to be a matter of fairness that we don’t impose an additional level of taxation, £1,600 during this Parliament, on ordinary families.”

          But a Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party made an unequivocal commitment that there would be no council tax revaluation in this Parliament.

          [end quote]

          AFAIK nothing has changed since…..

          • Dave Postles

            No nothing has changed, but it ought to change, because, as Clive Betts reported recently, it is the only way to save local government. The drastic reduction of council revenues has hit the poorest most. Pickles is, IMHO, dissembling. If you wish to exempt the consequences for the poorest, it can be done. The relationship between bottom and top is absurd. There are simply not enough bands above H. In any case, the LGA has warned today that councils will have to ask poorer inhabitants to make a larger contribution to their council tax as a consequence of the cuts to council funding – any of the links here:

            https://duckduckgo.com/?q=LGA+council+tax

            Disaster. It’s like the advertisement which keeps appearing in our local paper for a holiday in Belfast with the Titanic Experience.

          • RogerMcC

            But even rational property or local income taxes are not a solution – our whole local govt system was designed in an age when a factory (or farm or mine or office) in Newcastle or Cornwall was as or more productive than one in London.

            The level of local and regional inequality is however now so massive that few local councils could fund all their operations from any form of local taxation.

            This is a circle that cannot ever be squared.

          • Dave Postles

            I’m not suggesting that they should fund all their operations from locally-raised taxes – although a local sales tax could also be considered. What cannot be countenanced is the destruction of local government as a result of cuts in grant from central government. There has to be more flexibility for local councils to have other revenue streams. It’s the poorest who suffer most when the services are withdrawn.

          • RogerMcC

            Except that it is countenanced,is happening right now and will either accelerate if the Tories win or only be somewhat slowed down by Labour.

            And local sales taxes are no solution either as poor people in poor areas spend far less than rich people in rich areas but need far more services (plus more and more purchases are being made online rather than in local stores anyway….).

            If it was down to me I’d abolish council tax altogether and reroute as much welfare spending as possible through some form of basic income which would act as effectively a reverse poll tax.

            Every service would become 100% nationally funded and only be delivered through local councils because democratic control of schools etc is a good thing.

            But it is not down to me…..

          • Dave Postles

            Not for me. Your tax would be collected by central government and we would be back to square one where central government will determine the overall level of council services. A basic income tax in the form of a poll tax would penalize the poor equally. The sales tax would simply be supplementary to existing revenue streams. It doesn’t have to be a high level. I see no reason to abandon council tax as a local revenue stream.

          • RogerMcC

            Why is central govt determining the overall level of council services a problem?

            If you are any sort of socialist or social-democrat its all about rights and needs.

            And there is simply no way poor councils can meet needs of their pop out of local resources without further impoverishing that pop.

            You want to see how that works look at Detroit and various other bankrupt or near-bankrupt US cities.

            And in effect central govt already determines overall level of council services and ludicrously interests itself in the minutiae of rubbish collection and the curriculum of academy schools.

            Also not arguing against a property tax – it should just stop being called council tax with the false implication that it funds local govt.

            Making it truly national rather than local might also draw some of the political poison associated with a revaluation.

          • Dave Postles

            ‘Why is central govt determining the overall level of council services a problem?’
            Ask Pickles.

          • RogerMcC

            The problem with Pickles (and for that matter Prescott and his other New Labour predecessors) is precisely that he insists on both having his cake and eating it (I know – not a pleasant image).

            So we both have to listen endless bollocks about local democracy and relentless interfering in every aspect of local government.

            My solution would be to cut that Gordian knot by admitting that councils can’t fund their own responsibilities and are no more than delivery mechanisms for services that every citizen has an equal right to whatever their postcode.

            The Germans having a formally federal system manage local and regional government finance so much better than we do as although the federal financial equalisation system appears complex it is in fact stable, rational and predictable:

            http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Content/DE/Standardartikel/Themen/Oeffentliche_Finanzen/Foederale_Finanzbeziehungen/Laenderfinanzausgleich/Englisch_BFAG.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=2

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I suspect that local authorities in rich areas would take your proposed power to revalue houses in the widest sense, so yes, to provide additional bands above H, but at the same time to also revalue houses from A, B and C bands upwards. They would get lots more locally spendable revenue that way, and by default force the “costliest” (from a LA perspective) people out of the locality, to be replaced by people with higher incomes.

            I think that is how Tory politicians think, and many of their supporters would prefer to pay more to live in areas with less socially expensive neighbours.

          • Dave Postles

            You can only value the houses objectively. The ‘costliest’ people at the moment only pay a proportion of their council tax – if you mean the poorest, those on JSA, those on ESA, etc. It varies by local authority as they each decided different levels when the government demanded that these tenants (in social housing) contribute something. My brother, who lives in social housing, has been affected, as he lives in a Tory-controlled council, but the amount is minimal.

  • RogerMcC

    What we need are specifics.

    Thanks to Land Registry data we can tell exactly how many homes sold in a constituency were worth >£2 million.

    (at England and Wales level it was only 0.35% or 2,700 properties from Jan-Nov 2014 of which I’d estimate about 85% were in London),

    Not one of these sales was in Diane’s own constituency (although being London there will probably be some properties that would be valued at >£2m in Hackney North),

    (I should credit https://twitter.com/joesarling for these specific numbers).

    And even in London it would appear only 2% of props sold are >£2m,

    How many are worth >£2m in general (as opposed to recently sold) is trickier to calculate but a solid estimate should be possible.

    We just need to find and pay someone to do this work and provide PPCs with actual constituency level numbers to counter Tory lies.

  • Dave Postles

    Meanwhile, those with the least will have to pay more council tax next year, it seems: here

  • Ben Cobley

    Good argument, well made. It’s been surprising to see these Labour candidates trashing a pretty basic and non-punitive left-wing policy that redistributes wealth from our out-of-control property market to areas where the money is more needed. I’m a Londoner born and bred but this seems to be part of a general move to float off what is an increasingly smug and self-satisfied city from the rest of the country of which it is meant to be the capital. This is not a good development, and a world away from any idea of One Nation politics.

    http://afreeleftblog.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Michael Murray

    An excellent post. I pay my taxes on the understanding that they won’t be spent exclusively in the area in which I live. If a part of the proceeds from the Mansion Tax can’t be spent on Scotland why should we expect the proceeds of North Sea oil to be spent on us in England, especially London?

  • George_Arseborne

    I believe these mayoral candidates have lost the plot.
    Mark you are spot on. Jim Murphy is right to claim a thousand nurses under the mansion tax regime.
    Scotland just as London forms the United Kingdom that has one National Health Service.

    Diane, David and Tessa should be reminded again that this policy is portion of general policies that will raise additional funds for NHS UK not NHS London.

    I haven`t heard any of them talking about sky rocketed rents burden on the poor yet they want to protect selected few.

    I am disappointed by lot

  • Mike B

    The official Labour spokesperson on The Daily Politics was entirely correct in saying that we are a union and send resources to whichever part of the UK needs them. That is why Labour supported the No campaign in Scotland and why we fight for resources here in London as well. It is a class thing. It was frankly embarrassing later listening to Diane Abbot on BBC radio. She spoke in an intemperate and reactionary way. It is no wonder the media seek her out when there is a chance to show disunity in our party.

  • smilingvulture

    “Pretty much re-announcing confirmed Labour policy”

    Prob is the 95% figure Jim Murphy quoted which ain’t pretty

  • Matthew Blott

    Well I routinely get called “New Labour”, “Blairite”, “Progress something or other”, “right wing”, “Zionist” (that’s the ones I remember) but I am squarely behind the mansion tax. The housing situation is out of control and something has to be done. Ed Miliband missed a golden opportunity when confronted by Myleene Klass (not like him eh) to ram this point home. When pigs are poked they tend to squeal.

  • 07052015

    Well its made up my mind who to vote for in the selection -gotta be two to tooting,sadiqs yer man.

    The libdems are proposing extra council tax bands but with the proceeds being passed to central government.

    The time for a revaluation was when we had massive political majorities but of course we didnt have the political courage in case we offended soft tory target voters

  • Sleazy Boat on the Bayou

    “If there’s a “tax” on Londoners it’s the high rents, high house prices”

    I don’t support the Mansion Tax (I support Land Value Tax) but I think that’s a fundamental point: there’s tons of money being extracted from people already, but it’s being captured privately not by the state.

  • I do not like the Mansion Tax. I do not, in general, like taxes on the notional value of people’s homes. They are among the many ways of avoiding the simple and just taxation of income.

    But I am enjoying the furore over the Mansion Tax, between the self-important Labour Party in Scotland and the self-important Labour Party in London. Each believes its territory to be the heart and soul of the Labour Movement.

    In fact, Labour was a pronounced minority interest in each of them until the late 1970s at the earliest; this is also true of several English cities, often in stark contrast to staunchly Labour rural areas nearby.

    A number of those cities have been run by the Lib Dems in fairly recent years. Whereas, for example, Durham County Council has not been. And while London has elected Boris Johnson twice in a row, Scotland has elected Alex Salmond twice in a row.

    Labour is on course for an overall majority despite having lost dozens of seats in Scotland. In 2005, Labour won a comfortable overall majority without holding almost any of its seats in the allegedly all-important wider South East region.

    As in Scotland, it is not going to win very many in the South East this year, either. That is unfortunate in principle. But it is wholly irrelevant in practice.

  • Dez

    ‘ the Mansion Tax being a “tax on London”

    Nope,it’s just a 95% London tax.

    To make it fairer how about a pro-rata mansion tax based on regional differences in house prices,the same levy but with a threshold of say £500,000 in the North?

    • Tom Sanders

      Myleene vindicated 😉

  • Michelle

    Khan has yet to declare but I am hoping he does. He is the only one to have defended the mansion tax.

  • Julia

    Sorry to spoil the party but Jim Murphy cannot promise anything for the Scottish Health Servive.

    NHS Scotland has been fully independent since 1947. IF Labout Win the 2015 GE and introduce a mansion tax leading to an increased spend on the health service in England then we will have a Barnett consequential FULLY under the control of Holyrood.

    Is Mr. Murphy stating that Labour will win the 2015 GE AND the 2016 Scottish Elections AND that he will win a seat as an MSP before 2016 – quite a crystal ball!

  • David Pickering

    “It’s incredibly depressing to watch the craven failure of many Labour Mayoral candidates to stand up for taxation on a tiny fraction of the richest Londoners.”

    In other words “It’s incredibly depressing to watch the craven failure of many Labour Mayoral candidates to fail to support an attack on an unpopular minority.”

  • Mike19

    Good to see Labour moving away from all this ‘ one nation ‘ nonsense …..what we want is full scale redistribution…..a housing tax starting at £250,000 and then we can all the nurses we want….and we can all be on benefits to pay for it!!

  • Jeremy_Preece

    I read about this last night on my commuter train home. The editorial in the Evening Standard was as usual tearing into Labour and saying that for even suggesting that the capital city should have to contribute to the rest of the UK spelt the end of the party.

    This was no surprise. I expect that the Standard to argue the Boris Johnson notion that all taxes raised in super-rich London should be ring fenced to stay in London. That is because it is a typically right wing view.

    As a One Nation party, Labour correctly want to tax the super-rich and spend the money where it is most needed. What does not make sense is why Labour candidates are getting upset about London being “used as a cash cow”. London is the capital of the UK and is where the money is. If the super-rich are paying taxes that will be used to provide nurses and essential services to the rest of the UK then it is something to rejoice over.
    If that also means nurses in Scotland then great – after all we were persuading the Scots to stay in the UK last year.
    On these pages there is the argument that there are loopholes and contradictions in the mansion tax. If so then these should be addressed. However the principle that the super-rich pay more tax is fundamentally a good one, and one which should separate Labour from the Tories and UKIP.

    • Ian

      All very well, but Scotland is not a poor region. There are probably more poor people in London than in Scotland.

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