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Uncertainty over Labour mansion tax revenueLabour plans for mansion tax revenue appear in disarray after a series on contradictory messages from party chiefs.

Back in the spring Estate Agent Today reported that Labour was briefing on the tax, saying its revenues would be used to re-introduce the 10p starting rate of income tax - ironically, a tax scrapped by Labour back in 2009.

Then earlier this week the shadow secretary for work and pensions, Rachel Reeves, told the BBC's Daily Politics programme that the mansion tax revenues would be used to generally pay down the government deficit.

Yesterday Labour leader Ed Miliband backed up a statement by shadow chancellor Ed Balls, claiming the mansion tax revenues would instead be used to invest in the National Health Service.

We'll use the proceeds of a mansion tax on homes above £2m said Miliband in his keynote speech to the Manchester conference, when talking of his long-term investments plans for the NHS.

Meanwhile, a radio meltdown by the shadow minister who may be in charge of spending the revenues from a mansion tax if Labour is elected, suggests chaos may ensue.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham - who if in power would be spending the mansion tax revenues on NHS reforms - might have been expected to know of the details of how the tax would operate.

But when asked on the PM programme BBC Radio 4 how the mansion tax would work, Burnham said Labour was calculating on the side of caution by saying it would bring in £1.2 billion although there's a very good chance it could bring in much more.

He insisted £1.2 billion was a very cautious estimate and insisted this money would be raised straight away upon the election of a Labour government because a mansion tax would also be introduced straight away.

Burnham described what he called the government's internal valuation scheme for the largest properties although he said he didn't have all the details of what this was. However, he insisted Labour in government would be building upon this.

When asked specifically if it would be Land Registry data which would form the basis of the tax, Burnham said no - but earlier he had said in a different BBC interview that it probably would be the Land Registry's data.

The PM programme went on to say that Labour's shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna had earlier said it would be neither the Valuation Office's nor the Land Registry's data on which the mansion tax would be based, but on the sale price when expensive properties were sold.

Burnham said the Treasury and HMRC already knew of the existence of £2m-plus properties because these are often used to avoid tax by very wealthy individuals.

On one occasion during the fractious interview Burnham described a question by the interviewer, Eddie Mair, as a ridiculous question to ask. He also told Mair not to be so rude when Burnham was picked up for appearing to avoid to answer a question.

Towards the end of the interview, Mair asked whether the mansion tax had been dreamed up on the back of a fag packet. Burnham said it had not.

The interview is available on BBC iPlayer.


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    The politics of envy!

    • 24 September 2014 09:53 AM
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