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Monday, July 08, 2013

Differentiation and the mansion tax

Today's Independent reports that battle lines are being drawn up in the South East of England over Liberal Democrats proposals for a mansion tax.

The paper says that the Conservatives are preparing an aggressive counterattack after new Treasury calculations found that wealthy householders would face an average annual demand of more than £35,000:

The policy has proved a key point of difference between the Coalition partners, although at one point Mr Osborne was more sympathetic to the idea than David Cameron. Some Lib Dems suggest a mansion tax could be a non-negotiable “red line” in talks with the Tories if the 2015 election resulted in another hung parliament.

A senior Lib Dem shrugged off the Tory attack. “We would be absolutely delighted to have a political debate about the policy,” he said. “The Conservatives are trying to appeal to around 500 of their wealthy donors. We are trying to appeal to the entire electorate– this is an incredibly popular policy.”

He stood by the Lib Dems’ estimate of the number of £2m-plus houses in Britain. He also said the Tories’ calculation of the average levy was misleading as most people caught by the tax would pay relatively small amounts while a limited number of the super-rich would be liable for large payments.

Whilst not entirely convinced by this policy myself, I do know that it is popular and workable. And the more policies that can differentiate us from the Tories at the next election, the better.
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