Cameron stands firm against calls for a mansion tax
As the Tory faithful gathered in Manchester for the Conservative Party Conference, David Cameron was again questioned on the possibility of a mansion tax and once again voiced his opposition to any such scheme.
Interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday he admitted that more unpopular spending cuts would be needed in 2015-16, but was quick to pour cold water on the Lib Dems’ proposals for a mansion tax.
“I don’t actually believe we should be a country where if you work hard, you save, you buy yourself a house, you try to pay down the mortgage, you save and invest into that house, I don’t want to be a country that comes after you every year with a massive great tax. So that is not going to happen,” he said.
Naturally, the Prime Minister is primarily focused on winning the next election – as a career politician he would be catastrophically stupid not to be considering his party’s popularity – but his opposition to the mansion tax is fundamentally correct for a number of reasons.
Apart from the philosophical arguments for and against taxing to death the leaders of industry, entrepreneurs and those who have become successful, there are some very obvious practical concerns (especially in the currently febrile housing market) in attaching a definite and unchanging value to a property.
Naturally, supporters of the mansion tax will employ Council Tax banding system in order to show that valuing high-end properties will not be a problem. However, the banding system does not require an exact valuation and it is precision that will be vital for any property tax. In America, where property taxes are levied, valuations are robustly challenged and it is anticipated that this scenario will most commonly occur at the £2 million mark, since this is the point at which any mansion tax will kick in.
The other practical consideration is that some people, especially in the London area, might have lived in their property for 30 years or more and find that its value has increased so dramatically that they would be facing a tax bill that they have no way of paying.
This is, to say the least, iniquitous.
With the Lib Dems and the Conservatives increasingly at odds on something as fundamental as free market economics, no wonder Mr. Cameron is hoping for a clear majority in 2015.
Nigel Green deVere group
Blog written 1st October