Latest Public Sector News

31.03.15

Public prefer higher council tax over mansion tax

The public would prefer a higher council tax for homes left empty or a new council tax band on homes valued over £2m rather than a mansion tax, according to a new poll.

YouGov polled over 2,000 adults on behalf of the HomeOwners Alliance and 70% said they would like to see higher council tax for empty homes, while an additional council tax band for homes costing over £2m, an idea proposed by the Liberal Democrats, received 68% of support. In comparison Labour’s property tax on homes valued over £2m was supported by 60% of respondents.

However, amongst those who value their homes as worth more than £500k the difference is far greater – with 70% supporting an additional top band of council tax on homes over £2m, but only 33% supporting a new annual tax on property over £2m.

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Paula Higgins of the HomeOwners Alliance, which is a consumer group for British homowners, said: “People strongly believe homes are for living in, not speculating with or leaving empty. With an acute shortage of housing, the priority for the public is to ensure that those who want to own the roof over their head are not at a disadvantage to foreign buyers and those who have second homes.”

She added: “Homeowners are pragmatic about increasing taxes on higher value properties, but clearly prefer it to be done by introducing a new higher-rate band of council tax, rather than the so-called mansion tax, an entirely new tax on property imposed by national government.”

The most divisive policy polled was the Right to Buy scheme, with 36% opposing Labour’s proposed end to it and 46% supporting it.

There survey also showed a desire among homeowners to raise the threshold of inheritance tax, with 58% supporting it. Support for the policy is higher amongst those who are older and those who have higher value homes, with 82% of those who value their homes as worth over £500,000 supporting it. However, only 40% of non-homeowners support the policy, with the average across the adult population being 51%.

Higgins said: “Homeowners are generally keen to be able to pass on their family homes to their children, which is why there is support for an increase in the inheritance tax threshold.”

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