Westminster Conservatives are preparing for electoral defeat at next month’s General Election and have put down a motion at the next Council meeting on 29th April committing the Council “to lobby against any ‘Mansion Tax’ on homes deemed to be worth more than £2m”.
The motion, which is seconded by Conservative Westminster North Candidate Councillor Lindsey Hall, assumes a Labour victory on 7th May and the introduction of Labour’s proposed Mansion Tax which will raise badly-needed finance for the NHS.
Westminster Conservatives appear to be in total disarray over the Mansion Tax. Previously Lindsey Hall had argued in the ‘Evening Standard’ on 25th November 2014 that, “The cure for inequity in housing lies in re-banding council tax, perhaps with a ‘super band’ that reflects genuine ‘mansion’ status”. Labour say that there is little difference between a ‘super-band’ and a Mansion Tax.
In addition, Conservative candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster, Mark Field has called for three extra Council Tax bands – “Band H for prime properties worth between £2 and £5 million; Band I for so-called ‘intermediate prime’ properties in the £5 to £15 million bracket; and finally Band J for super prime properties worth over £15 million.”
And earlier this month Councillor Hall was accused of ‘cheap tricks’ for sending out misleading and inaccurate letters about Labour’s Mansion Tax proposals. Writing in ‘The Spectator’, Damian Thompson revealed in his article, ‘Look at this cheap trick the Tories tried to play on me’:
“‘Mansion Tax Revaluation Information’, said the letter that came through my letterbox, in an envelope that screamed ‘council’ or ‘taxman’ or something alarming. The letter inside was carefully formatted to look official. ‘Your property has been identified as one which could be affected by Ed Miliband’s “Mansion Tax”. This could leave you with an additional bill of more than £20,000 per year.’ And then: ‘Labour has promised to introduce the Mansion Tax immediately. The Inland Revenue will send out demands for payment after the budget in June. That is three months away, are you ready and able to pay Labour’s Mansion Tax?’ You had to turn over the page for the first mention of the word ‘Conservatives’ – the people responsible for this embarrassing stunt. It was signed ‘Lindsey Hall, Prospective MP for Westminster North’.
I wasn’t taken in for a second, but what about the old lady down the road? And what’s all this crap about ‘your property’ being in line for the Mansion Tax? It’s a flat, in a building obviously made up of flats – clue: all those doorbells. Ms Hall was going to get my vote. Now I’m not so sure. If this is the quality of Lynton Crosby’s campaign tactics, no wonder the Tories aren’t pulling ahead in the polls. Honestly, it’s worthy of the Lib Dems.”
A recent YouGov poll found that 60% of Londoners support Labour’s Mansion Tax proposal to finance the NHS, with 28% against.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Westminster Conservatives are in total melt-down on the Mansion Tax. Following Lindsey Hall’s failed ‘cheap tricks’, this motion shows that the Conservatives know that they will not win Westminster North and that David Cameron will soon be leaving Downing Street. The Mansion Tax will pay for new NHS investment if Labour wins the General Election and Westminster Conservatives are now preparing to use Council resources to campaign against the next Labour Government”.
“Labour’s proposals are fair and will protect those on low incomes with a right to defer the charge until the property changes hands. All but higher-rate taxpayers will be able to choose to defer the charge until the property is sold at a time of their choosing. As only 5% of pensioners are higher rate taxpayers this should go a long way towards reassuring the older, longer-standing residents in higher value homes.”