A way of evening the odds, or counterproductive and wasteful? Our panellists battle it outby Mark Ferguson, Nick Carn / October 16, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in November 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
Labour’s “mansion tax”—an annual tax that could be levied on properties worth more than £2m—has, I believe, a small part to play in tackling the structural inequalities of British society. We live in a country where wealth inequality is increasingly Dickensian in nature, and the expansion of unearned wealth (of which house prices are a major part) has a deeply pernicious impact. This is exacerbated by a warped housing market where foreign oligarchs buy homes at stratospheric prices in central London, forcing up house prices across the country in general, and in the capital in particular. A mansion tax could have a small impact in limiting the deeply destructive house price boom—although a sustained house-building programme would be far more effective.
Yet a better case for the mansion tax is one of reciprocity and solidarity at a time of scarcity. Even the most modest home is now worth far more than it was a matte…