Coffee House

Ed Miliband’s bold redistributive rebuke to Brown

14 February 2013

12:26 PM

14 February 2013

12:26 PM

Those close to Ed Miliband stress that if elected, Labour will introduce a mansion tax to pay for the return of a 10p tax rate. I’m told that ‘short of publishing the manifesto two years early, we couldn’t be any clearer’. This new 10p band will apply to the first thousand pounds of income, making it a £100 a year tax cut. (Although the Cameroon think tank Policy Exchange calculates that low-paid working families would actually only be 67p a week better off under this policy.)

The politics of the move, which has been in the works since Christmas, is fascinating. It is both a bold redistributive gesture and a rebuke to Gordon Brown, who scrapped the 10p rate. It also appealed to Miliband because it fits his whole critique of how politics works in this country. The fact that the Tories wrote to their donors soliciting funds on the grounds that they oppose a further property tax is grist to Miliband’s idea that powerful vested interests are distorting politics in this country.

There are several questions for the Tories now. First, do they reintroduce the 10p band in the Budget paid for by something other than a mansion tax? Second, do they embrace the fact that they are now the only major party opposed to a mansion tax. Based on past experience, I expect that they’ll argue that a mansion tax would require all properties to be revaluated, leading to the vast majority of households having to pay more council tax.

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Show comments
  • David Ossitt

    Look at the eyes!

    The pair on the left are the eyes of a wonk, those on the right are dead; void of any feeling.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘they are now the only major party opposed to a mansion tax’

    Does that mean they risk being isolated?

  • HooksLaw

    If you are a pensioner not paying tax how is this a good deal – especially if in the fall out your own property tax goes up?

  • HJ777

    A £1000-wide 10p tax band would add administrative complexity and have almost exactly the same effect as a £500 rise in the personal tax allowance.

    The government has already raised tax allowances by far more than that and is committed to increasing them further. So what is the point of Miliband’s announcement?

    • David Ossitt

      You ask ” So what is the point of Miliband’s announcement?”

      Methinks that the question ought to be “What is the point of Miliband?”

      Then the answer would be a clear definite “There is no point, he is nothing but a gobshite”

    • HooksLaw

      he needs a gimmick

      • realfish

        …and he needed one quickly following PMQ’s, Dave having noted the Labour insider line that there were to be ‘no policy announcements’ from Muddleband.
        Muddleband was as also aware that the Tories were weighing up the Gordon Brown (10p) Repeal Bill.

  • Jeremy Poynton

    “The fact that the Tories wrote to their donors soliciting funds on the grounds that they oppose a further property tax is grist to Miliband’s idea that powerful vested interests are distorting politics in this country.”

    And which organisation funds the Labour Party? The Unions are just as much a vested interest as any other such “vested interest”.

    • andagain

      And which organisation funds the Labour Party? The Unions are just as
      much a vested interest as any other such “vested interest”.

      A fact which is sufficently well known to hurt Labour at the ballot box. So there is much to be said, from their point of view, in pointing to the vested interests that influence the Conservative Party.

  • Mark Myword

    Balls has already spent the Mansion tax – last March (prior to the budget) he spent it on maintaing tax credits.

  • In2minds

    But Shazza, all this stabbing, that’s why the ladies love Ed Miliband and
    not David Cameron. Also Ed’s haircut, did you know he goes to the
    same barber as Kim Jong Un, the new leader of North Korea?

  • Alex R

    Ignoring whether or not this is a good move, Labour is still choosing to ignore the more fundamental problem is faces. Hypothecating tax raises to fund new spending commitments or redistribution is the easy bit. The hard bit is working out how you eliminate the deficit, which, whatever happens to growth and spending in the meanwhile, will probably be about 50% of the structural deficit exposed by the financial crisis / recession at the time of the next election. Labour will have to identify a mixture of spending cuts and tax rises the proceeds of which cannot be applied to good causes etc, but will support existing commitments which people take for granted. Given Labour constant mantra that the coalition is “cutting too far and too fast” it is far to assume two things (a) the balance will be shifted in favour of tax rises, which can only be met by changes to VAT,N.I. or Income Tax (b) the required adjustment will take place over a longer time frame, meaning the quantum of cuts required will have to be higher to allow for the higher proportion of government revenues taken up by debt servicing.

  • Shazza

    Never mind questions for the Tories, the question to Red Ed should be – ‘You stabbed your brother in the back,now you have stabbed Gordon Brown in the back, how do you convince the British public that you won’t stab them in the back?’

    • George_Arseborne

      Why are you so backward thinking.? Ed Milliband is just being Ed and doing the right thing as present Leader of Labour Party. You toffs should continue fighting amongst yourself. Ed these are just policies the voters love. Keep up

      • Shazza

        Calm down dear

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Because an awareness and understanding of History enables one to at least consider avoiding the catastrophic mistakes of the past. Voting for Balls and Miiliband, Chief Steward and cabin boy respectively on HMS Catastrophe, would seem to be a monumental mistake that would be well worth avoiding. I trust that answers your question but I suspect you are too preoccupied with fighting imaginary “Toffs”, whatever they are, to bother with something so mundane as History.

      • Youbian

        Of course the voters love anything someone else has to pay for. That’s the problem with a system that lets non contributors vote for other people to pay more and more for them.

  • UlyssesReturns

    I will forgive the fact that you neglect to include Milliband’s involvement in Brown’s 10p car crash Mr Forsyth. I will further allow you the freedom to not chastise Milliband for using an inadequate and basically punitive tax on pensioners and, not so-wealthy landowners with big houses, to part-pay for his mentor’s mistake. I will also give you a certain amount of leeway for not bringing up labtard’s past form on hypothecating mansion taxes or bankers’ bonuses to pay for yet another wheeze or scheme that will never see the light of day in a bankrupt future lib-lab administration. What I will not forgive you for though, young Mr Forsyth, is describing this opportunistic, quasi-Marxist, schoolboy politician as BOLD – he is nothing of the sort and you should be ashamed of yourself. Detention for you methinks and 1,000 lines: I will not pander to the the inadequate labour opposition and insult the intelligence of Spectator readers again.

    • fubar_saunders

      yeah… that about covers it. 🙂

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Agreed. well said Ulysses.

        • telemachus

          For the record
          I was not insulted

          • Glenn Ludlow

            Your intelligence cannot be insulted if you have none!

            • telemachus

              “…powerful vested interests are distorting politics….”
              The machine conspires to deny the reasonable.
              But the people will be heard

  • Colonel Mustard

    “I expect that they’ll argue that a mansion tax would require all properties to be revaluated, leading to the vast majority of households having to pay more council tax.”

    That is exactly what would happen. I’d prefer to see a quango tax, a fake charity tax or a special punitive “walk the talk” tax on any members of the Labour party and Common Purpose earning more than £26,500. Anything over that amount should be taxed at, say, 99% and the money used to fund social care programmes. Wealthy socialists, if they believe what they are always bleating, should be happy about that. Then when they talk about “the rich” they won’t be low-down, scheming hypocrites.

    • Colonel Mustard

      And the down arrow(s) tell you all you need to know about them. They know it. We know it. But they pretend like crazy.

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