Lib Dem ‘mansion tax’: the right policy AND a vote-winner, say 69% of party members

by Stephen Tall on April 3, 2013

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 650 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Vince Cable smiling - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThe Lib Dems are committed to levying a new household tax (known as the Mansion Tax) of 1% on the value of properties over £2m. Which of these statements best represents your own view?

    69% – I support the policy and think it will be a vote-winner

    9% – I support the policy but think it will be a vote-loser

    6% – I do not support the policy and think it will be a vote-loser

    9% – I do not support the policy but think it will be a vote-winner

    6% – Don’t know

When Vince Cable sprang his idea of the ‘mansion tax’ on the Lib Dem conference in 2009 it grabbed the headlines. Three-and-a-half years later, it’s become mainstream, with even Eds Miliband and Balls now backing it. And by the looks of it an overwhelming majority of Lib Dem members are signed-up for it too. If we package up the four-way split here, 78% of Lib Dems support the ‘mansion tax’ and the same proportion think it will be a vote-winner. Here’s a sample of your comments:

We have to show that we are making the wealthy pay more.

Much easier to do this through increasing the number of Council Tax bands. But better still to go over to site value rating.

People will approve of a tax on large expensive property.

I think if all else were equal it would be a vote winner but not with the rabid press we have in this country

Vote loser in leafy Buckinghamshire

Most people seem indifferent to it as it will in reality raise so little if any extra revenue after costs are considered.

A mansion tax would do a lot of good, but significant harm too. Can’t we thing of a better way of taxing those with large incomes without affecting those in expensive (mainly London) properties but who have small incomes? Is it really so hard to apply the collective brain power of our party to devise a fair solution?

I think a property tax might be OK but 1% is too high

It will need very tight presentation to overcome hostile and misleading right wing press statements.

But Labour just shot us. They’ll now claim we voted against it.

Will need expensive revaluing and will be easily avoided by dividing properties

It’s a gimmick, why not just extend Council Tax bands?

However, we must make clear how it will be collected from households which are cash-poor but property-rich (e.g. the elderly). For these it may have to be reconstituted as a death tax.

depends on how the message is got out.

Land Valuation Tax please.

I would rather see this money accruing to local government, which has received such vicious cuts. This would allow for local authorities to set their own upper limits. But I do believe that it is important to charge those who choose to live here but who arrange their affairs so as not to contribute to the common wealth.

council tax might be a better way of capturing this wealth tax, though

but it is oversimplistic. It should be part of a full review of Council Tax, adding additional bands, not just this one. Also adding a band below A, and a ZerO band for anyone in sub-standard accommodation.. BUT we need to re-affirm that when we are in Govt we will remove Council Tax and introduce Local Income Tax.

Will only be a very slight vote winner-there are far more radical and substantial things we should be proposing

but it can’t be done in isolation we need to start explaining why taxing wealth and not economic activity is a good and liberal thing to do otherwise, like everything we do, it seems like something just plucked out of the blue

It’s not a mansion tax. It’s an income tax on people who own mansions. Income tax should be determined by income, not ownership of mansions or any other assets

The sooner we tax wealth as well as income the better. You can’t move a mansion to an overseas tax haven.

First step to Land Value Taxation so it’s great.

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 647 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 14th and 17th March.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
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  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.