When announcing his mansion tax proposals, it was quite predictable that Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls would choose to talk about a “billionaire overseas buyer”.
But I suspect Ed Balls knows perfectly well that the people who will end up paying his tax aren’t billionaires, or from overseas, or even buyers; they will actually be members of our long-term community. Older and often retired, they will have brought their homes decades ago for a fraction of what they are worth today. They will simply not be able to afford the tax and will face a terrible choice: move, or allow the tax to rack up as a sort of huge additional death duty.
Since the announcement of the tax, I have been speaking to many Royal Borough residents who are in precisely this position.
What’s really ignited it though is the fact that the London Labour Party is also being sharply critical. That makes the story far more interesting and the coverage is going up accordingly which is very welcome.
But we must press on. If we are going to stop the tax, the campaign has to be less about the politics of the mansion tax and more about the real people who will end up paying it. In other words we need a people’s movement and hopefully we may be seeing the birth of one.
A Stop the Mansion Tax campaign is just getting underway in Hampstead and they have made plain they would love support from the people of Kensington and Chelsea.
For starters, they simply want emails of support that include contact details. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org