There’s bad news today for Labour members living in homes valued at £1m or more - one of their own MPs wants them to pay £1,000 to stay in the party.
John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw and considered to be on the right of the party, says the kind of ‘internal mansion tax’ is needed to save the Labour party if it loses income from trade unions as a result of legislation going through parliament.
In a barely-concealed swipe at his party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Mann writes on his website: “Hidden from the discussion of Labour’s big increase in membership is any analysis of who has joined as fee paying individual members, but a deeper examination will show that it is overwhelmingly the middle classes who are joining.”
He goes on to say that in one street in the Islington North constituency - where Corbyn just happens to be the local MP - “with owner-occupiers living in multi-million pound properties, had 40 people over a 12 week period join the party.”
He says membership is now higher in the average Tory heartland seat than in the average Labour heartland seat, thanks to overwhelmingly middle class new members.
“But it also highlights how the current short–term crisis can be averted - that of bankruptcy. The party has lost most of its bigger private donors and depleted trade union political funds will not be capable of again bridging this gap. This is why it is time for a Labour wealth tax. Those members with properties valued at over a million pounds should be expected to pay a Labour wealth tax of £1,000 a year to be a Labour Party member” says Mann.
There’s even worse news for well-heeled socialists in the final part of Mann’s diatribe.
He says: “The Labour wealth tax should be based on the total number of properties owned, so that those with second homes and property empires have the opportunity to make a more egalitarian contribution. ....Those who happen to have seen their property dramatically escalate in value face the prospect of huge future benefits from this. Those who live in less prosperous areas do not have that luxury.”
Mann says he is taking this proposal to the Labour conference in the autumn.