Debate Magazine

The Best Tax is One You Don't Have to Pay

Posted on the 30 January 2015 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

From the same "Moneymorning" as the last post:
Take the recently completed Vauxhall Tower by Vauxhall Bridge. It is Britain’s tallest residential building – 50 storeys high – and it holds 223 flats. But drive past at night and there are absolutely no lights on.
This is becoming a big social problem. London property is already unaffordable for most locals. The average wage in London is just above £40,000. The average London house price is £580,000. Anger about this is mounting every day – and it only increases when people see so many flats sitting there unoccupied.
Whoever wins the next election will have to find new ways of increasing the tax take. Some kind of property tax looks inevitable. Mansion tax or no, an easy and politically expedient target will be to tax homes that are left vacant – Islington council is already talking about it.

Labour have obviously ducked the more logical policy of simply increasing the Council Tax bands up to £2M and beyond, because that would hit the middle income voters who support them as well as the rich voters that don't. However, increasing the tax on empty flats and houses would mainly hit non-residents who don't vote. So the new higher bands could first be introduced for empty properties only, then perhaps extended to second homes that aren't let out as holiday lets and so are empty most of the year.
I wonder if any of Labour's policy wonks read "Moneymorning"?

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