The FT reports that Boris Johnson is to call on George Osborne to hand over stamp duty revenue from London property sales to ease a shortage of affordable housing in the capital.
Mr Johnson said: “If we do not come up with a new plan to build the homes we need, this great city will stagnate and the whole country will suffer the consequences.”
The average price of property in London is £371,223 – attracting stamp duty of 3% – compared with an average of £162,080 elsewhere in England and Wales, payable at 1%.
Source: Financial Times
We say: Hmm. That would set an interesting precedent: we wonder how far Boris would like to extend the process.
Matching taxes to public expenditure on a region-by-region basis would dramatically highlight regional differences: just imagine what would happen if all the taxes raised in London and the South-East were also spent here.
There wouldn’t quite be enough to pave the streets with gold but it wouldn’t be far off. On the other hand, we suspect that some regions would find that they were bankrupt within a week.
Jolly good thing, then, that it won’t happen: we are and remain one country and, to coin a phrase, are “Better Together”. Salmon, Sturgeon and other piscine separatists take note.