Saturday, 30 May 2015

Letter to Independent on Mansion Tax

Donald Macintyre is right to criticise Labour for apparently dropping the "mansion tax" proposal, largely because the candidates for leadership tend to agree that it lost the support of the "aspirational" (Independent,27/05/15) If taxing owners of houses worth £2m and over symbolises "the politics of envy", as Burnham and the others suggest,  presumably they are also against raising the top rate of income tax to 50%, and a bonus tax on bankers? In fact, Labour is now, presumably, in opposition to all methods of wealth redistribution, something which is central to the creation of a more equal and fair society. Under Thatcher, the top rate of income tax was 60% between 1979 and 1988!   
      Do these candidates not want to improve the UK`s shameful 28th position out of 34 so-called developed nations in the equality league table? The fact is that the "mansion tax", itself an extension of the council tax, would have cost the owners of these homes, most of them in London, around £3-5,000 annually, an amount almost certainly exceeded by the increase every year in the house`s price. If these well-off people think that such a tax is unfair, and that money is better raised by "efficiency savings" in the public sector, they are never likely to vote Labour anyway!
    If  Labour is to recover from its devastating defeat, it has to develop transformational policies, which will undoubtedly cost billions. If there is no willingness to fund public services by taxing those most able to pay, not only will Labour`s ability to balance the books again be questioned, its raison d`etre will be too.

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