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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Burnham is latest Labour mansion tax turncoat

Andy Burnham, one of four candidates in the electioin to become next Labour leader, is the latest prominent party member to undergo an apparent conversion on mansion tax.

Burnham has told the Daily Mail that the policy - a central plank of the last Labour manifesto - was “spiteful” and “anti-aspirational” and smacked of the 1970s rather than the 21st century. 

“It felt spiteful and went against the grain. We need to get back to communicating simple policies that will make a real difference to people. Labour looks like an elitist Westminster think-tank talking in language that people don’t understand. We lost our mooring” he says.

This seems rather a long way from Burnham’s enthusiastic support for the tax when he was speaking on BBC Radio 4 on the day it was debated at the Labour party conference in September last year. 

Burnham - who had Labour won the May election would have probably become Health Secretary, spending the proceeds of the mansion tax - was strongly in favour of the measure last autumn, if a little imprecise on details. 

When asked on the PM programme 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 was a very good chance it could bring in much more.

Burnham told listeners that what he called the government's internal valuation scheme would be used to judge the price of high-end properties, although he said he didn't have all the details of what this was. 

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

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

  • Rob  Davies

    No, Andy, no it's not! Anti-aspirational and spiteful, what a load of old tosh.

    I quite like Burnham, but he's judged it completely wrong on this. Labour didn't lose the election because of the mansion tax or an anti-business slant, they lost because they didn't offer enough of an alternative to the Tories and people didn't trust Ed Miliband as a future prime minister. Quite how placing a small tax on owners of £2m plus home is spiteful, I don't know. It's not like they can't afford it, is it?

    No, we'll just continue with Boris's vision of turning London into the biggest tax haven in the world, where only billionaires and the super-rich can afford to live. We won't question it, or have a serious conversation about housing, we'll just bury our heads in the sand and hope it all magically gets better.

    What are the government going to do about the supply/demand imbalance or brownfield sites or bringing empty homes into use, or stopping wealthy overseas investors buying up property and then leaving it unlived in? On that point, where has Brandon Lewis disappeared to? Since he was returned as housing minister, I don't remember him commenting on any property-related issues whatsoever.

  • Kelly Evans

    Finally, Labour are starting to see sense over this punitive, illogical tax that would have done more harm than good!

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