£1 million mansion tax? Are the Treasury really likely to tax themselves?
You remember the LibDems? That middle line party with manifesto pledges about things like not raising tuition fees for students? Well, in this weeks’ non-news another of their pledges turns out to be no more than polish on the Tories’ wood, as the Sunday Times finds a source ‘close to the Chancellor’ who claims the LibDems last gasp Mansion tax is nothing but dust.
The Sunday Times’ “Senior Treasury sources” pooh poohed the idea, saying “we are not working on a mansion tax and it is not government policy,” in direct contradiction of claims that the Treasury was doing preliminary work towards implementation of the tax.
Vince Cable used to be the thought of as the voice of dissent within the Government, after Nick Clegg’s perceived early capitulation, but nowadays he is being likened to Barraclough from Porridge, rather than any serious challenge to the well-greased Tory machine. The LibDems initial plan envisaged an annual charge for people living in a property worth £1m or more, with the potential to offer a compromise to the Conservatives by increasing that limit to £2m. However, reports now say that they are considering whether sellers should be forced to pay capital gains tax at (largely) 28% on any profits beyond a £1m threshold. At the moment, main residences are exempt from tax, even when you flip them, so this change could raise billions for the exchequer.
Or at least it would, if anyone was listening to any of the LibDems policies.
But having lost out on the the tuition fees, VAT increase and £10,000 personal allowance stalwarts of the Lib Dem’s manifesto, surely the Chancellor and the Treasury must take some of their coalition friends’ ideas into account? Tough one. Surely the people behind the Treasury are those who own said £1m mansions, and are not likely to be in favour of taxing themselves. Look at how the 50% tax rate suddenly became temporary once the millionaire George Osborne took the helm.
We tried calling the Treasury press office to ask for the ‘official’ line, but they refused to talk to us as we were considered insignificant. Presumably we don’t own £1m mansions that would enable us to look down on people from such a great height.