Agents have reacted angrily to the government contemplating introducing a Mansion Tax, and to the Housing Secretary not ruling out the idea in a TV interview.
Yesterday we reported that a Sunday Telegraph article revealed from two separate sources that a tax of the most expensive homes was being considered both by the Treasury and by Number 10.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick then appeared on Sky TV yesterday morning and declined to rule out the possibility of a Mansion Tax.
Estate agent and housing market commentator Russell Quirk took to Twitter to say the move was “Marxist” and commented: “Sorry, did Jeremy Corbyn get in after all?” Later in the day he described the possible measure as “a regressive tax on aspiration if true … astonishing from a Conservative govrernment.”
And buying agent Henry Pryor used social media to link to the Telegraph article and say: “April 1st coming under serious pressure as the day of fools.”
Just over five years ago Boris Johnson was outspoken in his criticism of a Mansion Tax proposal by the then-Labour leader Ed Miliband. Johnson, the London Mayor, called Miliband's idea "a tax on homes" and "a tax on London" and warned that people would be "clobbered by it."
Yesterday even seasoned political commentators appeared in shock at the U-turn, which is being considered as a way of the government raising money to fund major infrastructure work in the Midlands and the north of England.
The FT’s chief political columnist Jim Pickard described it as “an audacious political move given that ‘actual Marxist’ John McDonnell considered it too radical.”
The Sunday Telegraph’s editor, Allister Heath, tweeted: “Boris and [Chancellor] Javid must kill these ridiculous, unconservative tax plans and put the officials proposing them back in their box.”
Here is the Sunday Telegraph article, although for many readers it may be behind a paywall.