Westminster announces voluntary ‘mansion tax’ plans

5 Oct 17

Westminster Council has announced plans for a voluntary ‘mansion tax’ on buildings worth more than £10m in a bid to freeze council tax for other residents.

The council hopes to raise £2.75m from approximately 2,000 properties by asking council taxpayers in these homes to supplement their current bill by around £1,376 a year.

The authority is consulting residents in so-called super prime properties (band H) whether they would be prepared to make the voluntary payment.

In addition the council is lobbying the government to table an affirmative order in the Commons to amend the Local Government Finance Act 1922 to give Westminster Council [WCC] the power to introduce this higher band.

The council stated a new council tax band on super prime properties – the most valuable 2 to 5% of properties in the borough – would raise sufficient revenue to enable us to freeze council tax for everyone else.

Nickie Aiken, leader of WCC, said Westminster had some of the poorest and richest residents in the country and this policy offers a way to help those who are struggling to pay bills.

She said: “One way of doing that is via a voluntary supplement linked to the top council tax band.

“There is no appetite from central government to revaluate council tax, but we believe we have come up with a method which will allow the well-off to voluntarily help those just about managing.”

Aiken said the scheme will have cynics but she said her discussions with very wealthy people in the borough suggestsed people wanted to help.

The scheme will be in force from next April and will be collectable alongside the Council Tax bill.

Although, without legislation it will remain voluntary so nobody will be under any obligation to pay.

A spokesperson for WCC said: “We don’t know how much will be collected – this is an experiment, but one that we think there is a strong case for conducting.

“If there is marked support for the initiative, then that supports the evidence base for the government acting to change the law.”

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