Tories claim mansion tax will drive out residents and attract ‘super-rich' to Camden

Wednesday, 12th November 2014

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LABOUR councillors were warned on Monday night that plans for a “mansion tax” on properties worth more than £2million would drive residents out of the borough, paving the way for the ‘super-rich’ to move in.

Tories challenged the ruling group to pass a Town Hall motion pledging to lobby against the policy being spearheaded by Ed Miliband and his shadow chancellor, Ed Balls.

Conservatives said Camden should follow the Labour-run council in Hammersmith and Fulham by opposing the plans for an extra levy, which critics say will hurt “asset rich, cash poor” residents.

“I come from Yorkshire where a £2million property is a palatial pile in my little home town, but that isn’t the case here,” said Conservative councillor Siobhan Baillie during the debate at an all-member meeting. 

“We are dealing with local people with normal houses who will be impacted. The mansion tax is going to do what you guys [Labour councillors] will be appalled at. It’s going to bring in the very, very super-rich and drive out local residents.”

She added that there should be cross-party support for a campaign against the tax.

WATCH: Councillors clash over Labour's mansion tax plan

Her group leader, Councillor Claire-Louise Leyland, said that “elderly and vulnerable residents” were being scared by the proposals, and “wondering how they will cope”. Councillors should be matching Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson’s opposition to the charge, she said.

Labour, however, proposed changes to the motion, described as “wrecking amendments”, before it was passed. Using its heavy majority in the chamber, and with only West Hampstead councillor Angela Pober abstaining, the ruling group said it could not support a Tory motion aimed at “scoring party political points”.

Backbench councillor Richard Olszewski said there should instead be a debate on how local council tax is charged, conceding that a revaluation was overdue. 

“For a replacement to the poll tax in 1991 it was a rough-and-ready form of fairness but it’s now more rough than ready,” he said. 

“The whole system is out of kilter and no wonder when the values were done nearly 25 years ago. The time for change is here and we are calling for a debate.”

Labour finance chief Councillor Theo Blackwell added that the “post-Scottish independence debate” should focus on giving councils more control over local taxation.

“This is precisely the time we should be talking about it,” he said. “Let’s seize the day.”

 

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