Letters to the Editor - 25/06 - Mansion taxes, Best of Twitter

Mansion taxes

[Re: Balls unveils mansion tax and promises to hit the rich hardest, yesterday]

While I agree that the purchaser of the £140m flat in Westminster ought to pay more tax than the inhabitants of an average-value property in the area, I disagree with the arguments put forth by Ed Balls regarding his mansion tax plans. The buyer of the property in question will have contributed £9.8m of stamp duty in order to take ownership of the flat – 166 times the stamp duty figure for an average value flat in the area (assuming a value of £1.18m). On moving into the flat, the owner is not likely to consume any greater police resources, fire service resources, refuse collection resources, street cleaning resources, or any other such resources funded by council tax. This is the reason that the council tax due on the property is, and should remain, so low in comparison to the purchase price.

David Hills

[Re: The devil will be in the detail of Osborne’s northern powerhouse plans, yesterday]

Andy Silvester is right to highlight government double speak on decentralisation. Without some fiscal autonomy, it’s a hopeless cause. The UK’s centralising obsession seems hard to resist.

Rachel Hicks

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