‘No plan’ to bring in Cable’s mansion tax
Vince Cable’s plan for a mansion tax was rejected by the Treasury last night.
The Business Secretary wants a tax on expensive properties to pay for the scrapping of the 50p income tax rate but Whitehall insiders poured scorn on the idea.
A source close to Chancellor George Osborne said: ‘The Government’s tax policies were set out in full in last week’s Budget.’
A Government source said: ‘In the Budget, the Chancellor said he was specifically looking at tax avoidance and evasion on high-value properties, not a new property tax.
‘Certainly no work has been commissioned on a mansion tax.‘
The condemnation came after Mr Cable and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg clashed over the Business Secretary’s proposal.
Mr Clegg said the policy was not on the cards, instead suggesting higher stamp duty for luxury home buyers or a revamping of council tax.
He added: ‘It could be a range of things; the way the council tax system is structured, the way stamp duty is structured.’
He said the Budget was ‘pretty close to what I would have delivered if I was prime minister and had a Liberal Democrat chancellor’.
In contrast, when Mr Cable was asked if he wanted to revive his controversial mansion tax policy, he said: ‘There is a strong argument that you need a proper base for taxing property. I’m sure we’re going to look at that.’
But Treasury sources said the only change made to property tax in the Budget was to close loopholes in stamp duty that help property tycoons avoid high levies.
Government sources were baffled as to how Mr Clegg could suggest changes in the way councils levy local taxes as the Coalition has ruled out property revaluations needed to do this.
A source close to Mr Clegg said: ‘Nick was setting out our principles on tax – that it is better to tax wealth, particularly unearned wealth, than work.’
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