Bedroom Tax or Mansion Tax? Should we defend robbing “little grannies” with a spare room or charging the super rich who have many, many rooms to spare

The mansion tax is one of Labour’s policies for supporting the NHS and ensuring the very wealthy pay their share of tax. It stands in stark contrast to the current government’s bedroom tax, which church leaders have attacked as “deeply unfair” and Labour has said they will abolish.

In a stinging rebuke on the impact of the bedroom tax, today senior Church of England clergy said, “As well as being ineffective, we perceive both the principle behind the policy and the consequences of its implementation to be unjust.”

In contrast, the latest non-story aimed at disparaging Ed, which the media so love doing, focused on singer Myleene Klass’ attack on the mansion tax on ITV’s The Agenda.

According to Klass, the mansion tax would hit “little grannies” who’d lived in their modest homes in London for years and years, rather than the super-rich. In London, she declared, £2m would only buy somewhere “like a garage”.

Bent as they were on insinuating Klass thrashed the floor with Ed (she was said to have “gone Paxman” on him), the media did not ask the pertinent questions: Just how many “little grannies” on pensions and benefits are rattling about in £2 million mansions? Did Klass ever “do a Paxman” on Ian Duncan Smith? Is it a fact that in London garages are so expensive? (Alas, we still do not know)

Ed, however, argued that “those with the broadest shoulders should pay the biggest burden. I think that is a decent, right principle and that is not happening under this government.”

The mansion tax policy has sensible, built-in safeguards: the threshold will rise if house prices rise (and even initially may be higher than £2m based on prices when it’s introduced) and also people in high-value homes who don’t have high incomes – like those “grannies” – can defer the tax till the property changes hands.

Meanwhile, the bedroom tax (a policy that appears to have been scribbled on the back of a cigarette pack) has forced lots of grannies as well as many disabled people to pay up or go into rent arrears and risk eviction.

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