Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has hinted for the second time that he is looking towards property to help fund his spending plans.
Over the weekend the Labour leader - in Brighton for his party’s annual conference - told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that higher taxes were a possibility.
He said: “Look at the choice the government is making … under their tax they announced the other week, those with many properties as landlords don’t pay a penny more, their working tenants do.”
When asked by Marr what taxes he would consider, Starmer said: “Nothing is off the table, but we don't know what the state of the national finances will be as we go to the election.”
Earlier this month he gave a similar hint that he would target property, telling the Local Government Association - which represents councils in England and Wales - that paying for social care primarily through National Insurance, as planned by the government, was unfair.
He told the LGA: “Working people will pay more tax now, but might still have to sell their home to pay even more later.
“This is an unfair plan that doesn't work. And who is left with the bill? It's working people. It's especially low earners and young people who have already borne the brunt of the economic impact of the pandemic.”
And he said the government left "a private landlord renting out multiple properties not paying a penny more in tax, and their hard-working tenants to pick up the burden".
He added: “The money [for social care] could have been raised by taxing the incomes of landlords, and those who buy and sell large quantities of financial assets, stocks shares".
However, one property tax which may go if Labour takes power is the business rate.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves will today tell the conference: "Our High Street businesses do so much to enrich our lives and our communities, facing huge adversity in the past year. They are struggling right now, with a cliff edge in rates relief coming up in March. The next Labour government will scrap business rates." Reeves says the business rate would be replaced by an as yet undefined alternative.
Starmer makes his keynote speech to the party conference on Wednesday.
The party has already announced in recent days that it will, if it wins power:
- introduce a cap on the number of properties in a new-build development that can be purchased by overseas investors - the limit will be 50 per cent;
- first time buyers would have “first dibs” on new build developments, off plan, for six months - a policy similar to that put forward in 2019 by Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership;
- slashing the definition of affordable rent, which is currently widely regarded as 80 per cent of local market rent levels - instead, Labour wants this to be only 30 per cent of average household income;
- reform of compulsory purchase to allow unused shops and other classes of non-residential property to be used for homes;
- councils to be given power to buy empty land at agricultural value, instead having to pay ‘hope value’ of the land with future planning permission.