The “Mansion Tax” is back on the agenda again and Charlie Mullins isn’t best pleased
Yesterday was a potentially very dark day for London, and here’s why.
Last night against all predictions the Health and Social Care Bill sailed through the Lords despite predictions from those smart on the money that there was likely to be trouble getting it passed. At the same time an insane plan cooked up by the Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable, to tax big houses was also mysteriously resurrected. A coincidence? I don’t think so!
For starters the so called ‘Mansion Tax’ had been kicked into touch long ago and even Mr Cable had, until yesterday, given up banging on about it. And then all of a sudden it pops up as an inside runner for the upcoming budget, in exchange for scrapping the 50p top tax rate. And then Lib Dem Lords experience an epiphany and decide the NHS reforms aren’t so bad after all.
I’m not so naive as to be surprised by this political horse-trading, but when Londoners yet again get shafted as a result I get mad.
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If Vince Cable is allowed to get away with this political swindle he will be imposing not a mansion tax (although that is what it will genuinely be north of Watford). What this represents is a tax on middle class Londoners, not the uber-rich – who the business secretary would like his party delegates to believe he has in his sights.
Two million quid, the property value at which the tax will hit, will buy what many would consider a mansion outside of the Capital – no question. In some parts of the country you can buy a half decent second hand castle if that’s what you’re after for a couple of million. But in London and the South East – you’ve got to be kidding!
Is it not enough that we already have the highest cost of living in the country, some of the worst roads, and that we are footing the lion’s share of the cost for the Olympic Games? Why should Londoners keep giving over and over again, and for what? To save Vince Cable and Nick Clegg from being booed off the stage at their party conference?
They say you should be very careful what you wish for, and they are right. Last Thursday I put in a 20 hour day going from one ‘Scrap the Tax’ media appearance to another, and I really think we had a massive impact with our message that the 50p in the pound rate is a bad tax.
But now it seems those of us who believe this tax is a huge disincentive to create wealth, especially those like me who live in London, are about to be sold down the Thames. And again I ask for what? How can keeping the Labour-voting north sweet, be a good reason to alienate core support in London?
There is of course a lot of water, drought notwithstanding, to flow under Lambeth Bridge between now and budget day on the 21st so anything can still happen. And for my money I sincerely hope that a bad tax (50p in the pound) is not replaced with a barmy one, that further reinforces the regional financial bias against being a Londoner.
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