Ed Miliband has said he and his wife Justine would happily pay a £3,000 annual mansion tax out of their spare income, but added that their home did not feel like a “mansion” and that he did not know the exact value of their home, thought to be worth £2.7m.
During an interview with Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2, Mr Miliband said he was “absolutely” happy to pay the levy “because the NHS needs the resources”. He said those who were income poor and asset rich and basic rate taxpayers would be able to defer paying the charge. He declined to say how much people would pay for properties worth over £3m but indicated Labour would look at the possibility of having a higher charge on those from overseas who own their homes in the UK.
Conservative candidate Nigel Adams said Mr Miliband’s comments showed he was “completely out of touch with ordinary people.” Elsewhere, the FT looks at how the tax has become a key election issue for residents in Hampstead and Kilburn.
And should Mr M find himself short of the cash to pay there’s a simple solution: flog the house and use the money to invest in a couple of smaller ones – a “main home” in town and one in the country perhaps. Mr M will be not a penny less wealthy but he will not be liable for this Selective Wealth Tax: which just goes to show what a flawed idea this is.
Here in Finchley & Golders Green, the constituency that BKL calls home, mansion tax has proved notably divisive. Local MP Mike Freer counts himself a campaigner against mansion tax and has written to households in the constituency specifically to make this known and gage like-mindedness. On the other hand, the constituency’s Labour candidate Sarah Sackman supports the proposal: parts of Finchley are famous for mansions and infamous for their lack of habitation. Those of you who grab a free Time Out on the way into work may have seen Giles Coren’s column on this very subject a couple of Tuesdays ago.
One of Finchley’s polling stations will be Bishop Douglass School, where BKL had its inaugural summer event for staff and families last year. Whatever issues motivate the local electorate at crunch time (or in ballot paper terms, rustle time), it’s a pleasing coincidence that the location we chose for our party is also a place where many local people will choose theirs.