A leading Labour MP is proposing a so-called wealth tax to "save the Labour Party" from financial ruin.
John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, said in a blog post on his website today that Labour should charge party members with properties valued at over £1m a "Labour wealth tax of £1,000 a year".
"It will raise significant money and it is entirely Socialist in its approach," Mann said.
Mann's eyebrow-raising proposals come amid concerns that new rules around trade union finances could cause the Labour party to lose an estimated £6m in income each year.
Internal Labour party documents first published in the Guardian earlier this week estimated that changes proposed in the Trade Union Bill would lead to fundamental changes in the funding and structure of the party.
The party could not absorb a loss of £5m-£6m and maintain its current structure," one document said. "With an annual salary cost in excess of over 50 per cent of total costs, it is clear that current staffing levels could not be sustained. In addition to a staffing review, all contracts would need to be challenged to remove any discretionary costs and offices considered for sale or sublet.”
"Even the most optimistic of people anticipate that the party’s income will be immediately decimated by the Tory Trade Union Bill," Mann said in today's blog post.
Mann defended his proposals by saying that a "deeper examination" of Labour's recent increase in membership "will show that it is overwhelmingly the middle classes who are joining".
"One street in Islington North, with owner-occupiers living in multi-million pound properties, had 40 people over a 12 week period join the party," Mann said, adding that the trend "highlights how the current short–term crisis can be averted – that of bankruptcy".
"The party has lost most of its bigger private donors and depleted trade union political funds will not be capable of again bridging this gap.
"To consolidate these Socialist principles, the Labour wealth tax should be based on the total number of properties owned, so that those with second homes and property empires have the opportunity to make a more egalitarian contribution.