MPs prefer council tax revaluation over mansion tax

9 Jan 15
MPs favour the creation of extra council tax bands as part of revaluation of property rates over a mansion tax, a poll has found.

By Richard Johnstone | 9 January 2015

MPs favour the creation of extra council tax bands as part of revaluation of property rates over a mansion tax, a poll has found.

The survey of 150 parliamentarians by ComRes for the British Property Federation found that over two-thirds (69%) said additional higher-rate council tax bands would be a better reform than a standalone tax on high-value homes.

Two-fifths (39%) of Labour MPs – whose party has proposed an annual levy on homes worth more than £2m to fund additional spending on the NHS – favoured additional council tax bands over a mansion tax. However, over half (56%) thought a mansion tax would be preferable.

A majority (89%) of Liberal Democrat MPs also preferred additional council tax bands to a mansion tax, as did 92% Conservative MPs. The LibDems, who have pledged to increase tax on higher-value homes, said last April this would take the form of extra council tax bands.

In addition, three-quarters of the MPs questioned said that there was a need for a council tax revaluation. Property values in the scheme have not been changed since it was introduced, and are based on 1991 values.

Support is strongest amongst Labour MPs at 87%, compared to 64% of Conservative MPs. A majority (53%) of all those questioned said they would like to see a revaluation carried out during the next parliament.

BPF policy director Ian Fletcher said the results showed that a full council tax revaluation ‘rightly commands widespread political support’.
He added: ‘Reforming council tax through a revaluation and raising revenue through adding more council tax bands would restore fairness to the council tax system and be better for the country as a whole.

‘It is particularly striking to see the level of support from MPs for reform across the Labour and Liberal parties, and that a number prefer it to a mansion tax. From the results of this poll the mandate for a mansion tax is very weak, even amongst those parties that have pushed it, and the right course of action would be to reform council tax.’

Responding to the poll, local government minister Kris Hopkins said the government had no plans to introduce higher council tax bands or new taxes on family homes.

‘Instead of finding new ways to tax people, I have been working with councils to keep bills down for families,’ he added.

‘Under the last administration council tax bills more than doubled, however, thanks to our council tax freeze which is entering a fifth year we have saved households £1,075 on the average Band D bill. Once again there is money on the table to help councils freeze bills to give families greater financial security and I would urge them to take it.’

He added that the British Property Federation needed to declare their financial interests. ‘They represent the property surveyors who would cash in from a council tax revaluation. The public have no appetite for higher taxes on family homes.’


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