Daily Archives: June 24, 2011

Allegra Stratton at the Guardian set the ball rolling yesterday on whether the Lib Dems are planning a new type of mansion tax – albeit under a different name.
The proposal is being kicked around by senior Lib Dem figures (such as Richard Reeves, policy wonk to Nick Clegg) but is meeting resistance from Tories. It is also unpopular with other Lib Dems such as David Laws (who is playing a key role in co-writing their “Tax 2020″ document). That’s right: Laws does not want it.
Wealthy FT readers in big houses may rest easy for a while longer.
Here’s our news take on it:
Owners of £1m-plus homes would have to pay capital gains tax when they sell up under attempts by senior Liberal Democrats to revive their “mansion tax” proposals.
At present CGT is paid at 28 per cent when a second home is sold but main residences are exempt from the levy.
But Lib Dems are considering whether sellers could be forced to pay the duty on any profits beyond a £1m tax-free threshold – a policy which could bring in billions for the exchequer.
Treasury officials have had discussions with experts in the property industry to find out how many people live in multi-million pound homes and where they are located.
However, the proposals are likely to meet fierce resistance from Tory ministers given that many Conservative voters live in homes worth more than £1m.
Vince Cable, as opposition Treasury spokesman, was forced to revise his original “mansion tax” proposal – an annual levy on big homes – after the Lib Dems realised that it would harm many of their suburban voters in south-west London.
The business secretary’s attempts to revive the mansion tax as a device to

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The Times splashed this morning with the trend of declining union membership, focusing on the drop in Unite’s membership – a fall of 262,740 members between 2007 and 2010.

What they don’t point out is that the biggest drop occurred in one single year when Unite bizarrely lost 310,000 members at the stroke of the pen, as FT Westminster revealed in July 2009. Officials admitted that many of these people had stopped paying their fees years before, or had even passed away in the meanwhile. Read more

On Wednesday David Cameron told PMQs that his message for military chiefs – concerned about mission stretch in Libya – “you do the fighting and I’ll do the talking.”

A thoughtful reader* has written to the FT to point out the similarity to the Tennyson poem, Charge of the Light Brigade. Read more