UK politians favour council tax change rather than new mansion tax

Taylor Scott International News

The majority of MPs in the UK believe additional higher rate council tax bands would be a better way to reform annual property taxes on high value homes than introducing a mansion tax. A survey found 69% back the council tax change while 75% agree with the need for a revaluation of council tax in general. The poll commissioned by the British Property Federation (BPF) also looked specifically at what Labour MPs think as it is the Labour Party that wants to introduce a mansion tax if it comes to power at the general election in May. It found that 39% of Labour Party’s MPs favour additional higher rate council tax bands over a mansion tax, despite the party championing the tax as one of its flagship policies ahead of the election. Just over half, 56%, thought a mansion tax would be preferable. The majority of the Liberal Democrat MPs surveyed, 89%, also prefer additional council tax bands to a mansion tax, as do 92% Conservative MPs. The Liberal Democrats first mooted the idea of a mansion tax in 2012. Asked separately whether they would support a revaluation of all homes to update council tax, 75% of MPs agreed. Support is strongest amongst Labour MPs at 87%, compared to 64% of Conservative MPs. It seems that this is a priority issue for MPs, with the majority, 53%, of those who would like to see reform preferring revaluation during the next parliament. The BPF has long made the case for council tax reform, pointing out that the 24 year old tax is still calculated on house prices in 1991. Since then, house price inflation has varied significantly, ranging from 160% to over 400% across England’s regions. It has urged policymakers to consider council tax revaluation and the addition of more council tax bands as a fairer and more efficient alternative to the mansion tax, which would be unfairly concentrated in London and could act as a deterrent to investment in the UK’s built environment. The BPF says that a council tax revaluation would be very easy to implement in the next Parliament because there is already legislative provision for it in the Local Government Act 2003. It would also accord with the advice of the Lyons Inquiry to Labour in 2007, which amongst its recommendations, suggested that a future government should revalue council tax and add new council tax bands, in order to update the tax base and improve fairness for taxpayers. ‘This poll shows that a full council tax revaluation rightly commands widespread political support, particularly across the Labour party, and that the majority of MPs recognise that basing council tax on 1991 house prices is simply unsustainable,’ said Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation. ‘The mansion tax is a political gimmick that is more about the narrative of rich vs the rest than anything else. Reforming council tax through a revaluation and raising revenue… Continue reading →

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