Deeply flawed, unfair and ridiculous – those were some of the words used by local estate agents to describe the Liberal Democrats’ idea of a new “mansion supertax.” Party leader Nick Clegg this week unveiled the idea of imposing a 0.5pc tax on owners of properties worth more than £1 million. Agents selling properties in this price bracket were not amused. Louis de Soissons, head of residential at Savills, said: “This will unfairly penalise those who are older or on fixed incomes who want to remain in the family home. It must be wrong to tax people on asset worth (when those assets have not been realised) rather than income. It is deeply flawed.”
Nigel Steele, of Jackson-Stops & Staff, said: “The Lib Dems are always the party who come up with the most radical ideas because they know they will not be in power to enact them! This has certainly caused plenty of discussion and as such is showing their liberal caring side.
“However as we know around the country £1million does not buy you a lot in many areas and prices depend on location not necessarily size or the wealth of the owners. To tax all million pound plus houses and flats would be like introducing the Poll Tax in reverse and would be unfair on many people who are asset rich and cash poor. Many would be forced to sell and it could bring prices down at the top end while pushing prices up at the sub-million level as people down size to avoid the tax.
“Why not raise income tax for those earning enough to be able to buy million pound properties? A far fairer way of raising income which is what this is all about.
“How will this new tax be introduced and will it really raise enough to cover the likely high costs involved or is this another way of making further employment in the Public Sector?”
Tom Goodley, of Strutt & Parker, said: “This is a very brave proposal which will create passionate arguments throughout the country. The assumption that everyone who owns an expensive house has large amounts of disposable income is ridiculous and this proposal is a classic example of left wing extremism, and should not be taken seriously. The introduction of this tax would have an artificial affect on house prices and would end in homeowners finding ways to evade it. This is not a new phenomenon and is similar to window tax during the 17th and 18th centuries which ruined many houses and this could be a danger now with houses being split up’
Nick Taylor, of Hadley Taylor, said: “The Liberals idea of levying an additional tax against people with houses valued at more than 1,000,000 is nothing more than socialist levelling. You would think that they would have looked at the disaster caused by the last twelve years of socialist levelling to realise how silly this idea is. The less well off in this country have not been at all well served by this sort of social engineering. Instead of penalising people for having aspirations we should encourage them. Besides, people who own big houses already pay more tax by way of higher levels of council tax and higher rates of stamp duty.
I wonder if the Liberals would reimberse you if the value of your property dropped below 1,000,000 in the next property slump?”
Peter Hornor, of Brown & Co: “It appears that not a great deal of thought has been put into the idea of a super tax. The obvious problem is how to value property and who would do it and how to handle those properties that are worth close to the million pound mark.
There is also the question of fairness because many people who happen to live in valuable properties may have low incomes and are perhaps the older age range and much will depend on location, because properties in southern England tend to be valued at a higher level than those properties further north.
Property values differ all the time, because of this, a great deal of thought would need to be given to any form of tax that relates to the actual value of the property”.