Jonathan Fryer

A Mansion Tax for Oligarchs?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 29th July, 2011

When Vince Cable launched his plan for a ‘mansion tax’ on homes worth more than £1 million, there were howls of dismay from LibDem activists in places such as Richmond Park and Kensington & Chelsea, where even quite modest dwellings are now worth well in excess of a million, thanks to London’s absurdly over-priced property market. There was then talk of a £2 million threshold instead, but the scheme was still unpopular and some Liberal Democrat party members actually resigned in protest. However, the LibDem Deputy Leader, Simon Hughes, last night unveiled at a Lewisham LibDems supper an intriguing variation which has gone to his colleagues in government for consideration: a Mansion Tax for non-doms, inlcuding oligarchs from the former Soviet Union — billionaires whose hunger for prime London property has been a major factor in house price escalation. Boris Johnson, London’s Tory Mayor, will doubtless scoff at the proposal, saying it will drive the super-rich foreigners away. But for the super-rich the ‘pain’ will be minimal, whereas the government’s coffers will get a useful boost and UK residents who happen to live in what is now a very expensive part of town will not be ‘fined’ for doing so.

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One Response to “A Mansion Tax for Oligarchs?”

  1. Use of a property as a second (or 3rd or 4th…etc) amounts to a change of use and should require planning permission. Local authorities could decide policy on how many such changes of use would be permitted within a zone. Unfortunately, we needed a policy like this 20 or 30 years ago.

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