New Clause 9 — Lower rate of tax and mansion tax

Part of Finance Bill (Ways and Means) – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 1st July 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Substitute Member) 6:45 pm, 1st July 2013

I am grateful for your expert advice, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will move quickly back to the mansion tax.

At the moment, foreign investors are buying mansions for capital appreciation. A properly worked-out mansion tax would not be a simplistic flat rate of £36,000. That was the Government’s arithmetic—it was laughable, wasn’t it? It was, “Oy, what yer gonna do? ’Ave I got this roight? We want £2 billion, we’ve got 55,000 mansions, so you divoid it in—that’s it, it’s £36,000, innit? That’s what you’re gonna do.” Obviously, that would not be the strategy. It would be to have an escalating rate according to capital values, which would change over time.

The system would obviously have to be refined and played with, and as my hon. Friend Chris Leslie pointed out, the impact would depend on the delivery. To a certain extent, £2 billion is just a ballpark figure. That is why he asked for more detailed figures. There are various factors driving demand for such properties, and they have a range of prices in the marketplace, so the likely yield would change over time. We therefore need to consider a sophisticated system. However, it is clear that it is the right direction of travel for the very richest to make a contribution at the most difficult times, to make work pay for everybody else.

It is clear from international examples, such as in New York city, which already charges a mansion tax on $3 million properties, that the tax is tried and tested. We can learn from our friends and colleagues in America how to apply it correctly. We should come together—I know that the Liberal Democrats have always been keen on the tax, and I hope that they will join us in the Lobby to support it.