Property Experts Blast Labour's Mansion Tax
Thu 25 Sep 2014
Labour's plans to impose taxes on high-value properties have faced widespread criticism.
At the party's conference in Manchester this week, leader of the opposition Ed Miliband said Labour intended to impose a levy on homes worth more than 2 million if it was voted into power in next year's election.
The money raised - likely to be in the region of 1.3 billion a year, according to analysts - would be used to help fund the NHS, Miliband said.
But a number of experts said the "mansion tax" policy could prove damaging.
George Bull, Baker Tilly's senior tax partner, said: "The mansion tax won't have a great impact on the NHS, but it will have a dramatic impact on those who have to pay it.
"The Department of Health had a budget of around 110bn in 2013-14, with most of this being spent on the NHS. So the reality is that if Miliband were to introduce a mansion tax, this wouldn't even keep pace with inflation increases in the NHS budget."
Bull added: "We know that tax will be a key battleground in the 2015 general election, and that unpopular groups in society will be targeted to pay more tax to fund worthy causes. The cause of social justice is crucially important, but crafting tax policies to win votes is unworthy of the cause."
Property website Zoopla warned the policy would have a disproportionate impact on London and the South-east. Spokesman Lawrence Hall said: "With more than 100,000 homes to be affected by this new levy, it is somewhat misleading to call it a 'mansion tax' when many three-bed family homes in London and the South-east would find themselves caught by it."
Peter Rollings, CEO of estate agent Marsh & Parsons said that the policy could damage London's standing. "Labour's mansion tax proposals would not only injure London's international reputation and prestige as a city open for business and investment, but would lumber the capital's homeowners with an even weightier tax burden and potentially stifle the market," he said.
"Any policy initiatives should concentrate on nurturing the embryonic buds of growth outside of London, rather than drastically pruning back healthier branches of the market."