Miliband’s Mansion Tax: safe as houses

David Miliband's mansion tax has been attacked by the Daily Mail. But a £1 million tax, as proposed last year by Vince Cable, enjoyed significant public support.

The Daily Mail today tried a different approach to attacking David Miliband’s mansion tax proposal after its Associated Press colleagues the Evening Standard called the progressive measure a “tax blow”. Perhaps embarrassed concerned that the Standard’s line was at odds with their Dispossessed campaign that highlights income disparities in the capital, the Mail implied the policy was hypocritical. But the idea, first proposed when Vince Cable suggested a £1 million cap, is popular with voters.

In today’s paper, the Daily Mail outline that Miliband’s proposal would exclude his own £1.5 million home from the tax and turn to the TaxPayers’ Alliance’s Matthew Elliott for a quote:

“It’s too convenient to be a coincidence that David Miliband has proposed a mansion tax that his very own palatial home would be exempt from.”

Perhaps the Mail and Mr Elliott have a point and Miliband could be bolder. After all – as yesterday’s Evening Standard was keen to the show – the policy will only affect a meagre 34,000 Londoners and just 6,000 other homes so capturing a few more can hardly hurt.

Indeed, although the policy originally proposed by Vince Cable – to introduce a ‘Mansion tax’ on properties worth more than £1 million – provoked a backlash at Lib Dem conference last year, it turned out to be extremely popular. As Financial Website of the year, This Is Money reported last September:

“An overwhelming majority of voters support Vince Cable’s ‘mansion tax’ – the policy that was dismissed by delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference as ‘electoral suicide’.

“A poll in today’s Mail on Sunday has found that, by a margin of more than two to one, voters back the plan under which the owners of homes worth more than £1m would be charged an average levy of £4,000 each.

“A total of 57% are in favour of the policy, with just 27% against. Even among Conservative voters, the most likely to oppose such ‘soak the rich’ policies, 44% were against the idea compared to 38% for it.”

The Labour leadership contender would be liable for £5,000 if a tax of 1 per cent were levied on properties worth more than £1 million cap – perhaps a price worth paying for a significant £2.2 billion tax windfall*, a popular policy, and calling the Mail’s bluff.

* The Liberal Democrats estimated that £1.1 billion would be raised from a 0.5 per cent levy on properties worth over £1 million.

19 Responses to “Miliband’s Mansion Tax: safe as houses”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz

  2. Will Straw

    Cable's original £1m Mansion Tax enjoyed 57%-27% net support RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz

  3. Ben Cooper

    RT @wdjstraw: Cable's original £1m Mansion Tax enjoyed 57%-27% net support RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz

  4. Dan Wilson

    RT @wdjstraw: Cable's original £1m Mansion Tax enjoyed 57%-27% net support RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz

  5. Ell Aitch

    RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz

  6. ejoftheweb

    BTW, the Standard’s no longer part of the Mail stable, since it was sold to the Russians – it’s now a much better paper.
    The mansion tax though is a sticking-plaster tax which will have all sorts of unintended consequences, and whatever the threshold will breed a sap-sucking appeals process to get valuations below it, enriching only the lawyers involved. We do need to tax all land properly, to encourage people to put their savings into productive investments in enterprises rather than inflating property prices, but the mansion tax isn’t a proper land tax.

  7. j

    RT @wdjstraw: Cable's original £1m Mansion Tax enjoyed 57%-27% net support RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz

  8. DrKMJ

    Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz via @leftfootfwd

  9. Mr. Sensible

    I seem to remember that Cable suggested this as a way to pay for the changes to the tax threshold.

    What happened to it?

  10. Gez

    what about Cameron on forcing people out of council houses

  11. John Ruddy

    The Evening Standard is no longer published by Associated Press/Daily Mail & General Trust. Its owned by the Russian billionaire Lebedev – dunno how big his London home is, though its probably quite large.

  12. Hitchin England

    Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz via @leftfootfwd

  13. Josh

    Why do you refer to opinion polls to back up your claims? Is this ‘evidence based blog’ merely run according to focus group findings? Every recent poll suggests that an absolute majority of the British people want to see the expansion of the grammar school system. If you are so obsessed with opinion poll findings, you should support the will of the British people.

  14. Will Straw

    ejoftheweb, John Ruddy – Very good point and an oversight on my account. Have amended accordingly.

    Josh – I don’t refer to opinion polls to back up my claims, the tax is a good idea because it is progressive, targets wealth rather than income, and is hard to obscure. I used the opinion poll to indicate that on top of these benefits, it is also a popular policy.

  15. mark122

    is it really necessary to keep clobbering the rich with taxes? The reason its popular is because there are relatively few people living in £2m houses. No one minds taxes going up as long as they aren’t the ones being taxed. Isn’t this just a case for tyranny of the masses?

  16. matty

    It’s a bad policy – who is to say when a house is worth 1 million. a house only has a value at the time it is sold. we cannot constantly survey houses to see if they pass this limit. bin please david.

  17. Liza Harding

    RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband's Mansion Tax: safe as houses //bit.ly/9sFBkz | @DMiliband | #DM4leader

  18. Sunder Katwala

    @TimMontgomerie Tory voters backed Vince's mansion tax 2009 too //t.co/G1La3M9 but churlish to quibble at welcome converts!

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