With the general election less than a year away, it is interesting to note that Ed Balls last night announced changes to Labour’s “mansion tax” plans to bring it more in line with Liberal Democrat proposals.

Let’s compare the similarities:

  • Labour want the charge to be levied on properties worth more than £2m – so do the Liberal Democrats
  • Labour want the charge to be increased in line with house price inflation rising in bands of £2m to £5m, £5m to £10m, £10m to £20m and £20m plus – the Liberal Democrats want to introduce higher tax bands on properties that are more valuable than £2m.

Ed Balls says that the scheme is designed to raise money for a new 10p starting rate of income. Now where have I heard of that before? Oh yes it was introduced by Gordon Brown in 1999 and abolished by him in 2007.

Now forgive me if I’m being a tad sceptical but it would appear to me that this ‘change’ has little to do with funding a lower starting rate of tax and everything to do with cosying up to the Liberal Democrats ahead of another hung parliament.

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