MPs overwhelmingly prefer council tax reform to Labour's mansion tax, according to latest poll

Guy Bentley
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MPs favour council tax reform over mansion tax (Source: Getty)

More than two-thirds of MPs believe reforming council tax would be better than a mansion tax, in terms of raising money from property.

Close to 70 per cent of MPs, when asked, said there should be additional council tax bands instead of Labour's policy of taxing all properties valued at £2m or more. In a blow for Ed Miliband, 39 per cent of Labour MPs said re-evaluating the council tax bands would be preferable to their own party's mansion tax policy.

Support for council tax changes over a mansion tax rockets among Tory MPs to 92 per cent and only marginally less for Lib Dem MPs to 89 per cent. Labour leader Ed Miliband has made great play of the mansion tax which he claims would hit the rich and raise £2bn for the NHS.

The policy has caused bitter division in some elements of the Labour party. The party's leader in Scotland Jim Murphy pledged some of the money raised, which would overwhelmingly come from London, would be used to employ an extra 1,000 nurses in Scotland.

Hackney MP Diane Abbot took exception to the pledge, saying Murphy "just thinks he can buy Scottish votes with money expropriated from London".

Abbott is far from alone in urging a policy rethink. Fellow MPs and hopefuls for the London mayoralty, Tessa Jowell and Margaret Hodge, have been openly critical of the plans.

When asked separately whether there should be a re-evaluation of homes for council tax, excluding any argument over a mansion tax, support was overwhelming across the parties, with 75 per cent of MPs in favour the policy.

The poll was conducted by ComRes and was commissioned by the British Property Federation (BFP). The survey covered the views of 150 MPs. The BFP argues that council tax reform is long overdue, with house price inflation soaring from 160 per cent to over 400 per cent across England’s regions.

Commenting on the results, Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation, said:

This poll shows that a full council tax revaluation rightly commands widespread political support, particularly across the Labour party, and that the majority of MPs recognise that basing council tax on 1991 house prices is simply unsustainable.

Fletcher slammed Ed Miliband for adopting a policy that smacks of class war:

The mansion tax is a political gimmick that is more about the narrative of rich vs the rest than anything else. Reforming council tax through a revaluation and raising revenue through adding more council tax bands would restore fairness to the council tax system and be better for the country as a whole.

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