by Atul Hatwal
Myleene Klass is a lucky woman. She went on ITV’s Agenda last night, talked nonsense about taxation and should have been ridiculed.
Comparing taxing a glass of water to higher tax rates for properties worth over £2m is idiotic. But because Myleene was up against a hesitant and tentative Ed Miliband, she has emerged this morning in the press as an anti-tax Boudicca.
In his exchange with Myleene, Ed Miliband failed on two counts: first, to challenge the notion that taxing more expensive properties at a higher rate was somehow arbitrary and second, to highlight the crushing inequity of the current council tax system.
Taxing property is not some on-the-hoof fancy dreamt up by the Labour party. From the Window tax of 1707 onwards, it’s been central to how government raises money as long as the United Kingdom has existed.
The methods might not have been perfect, but as a principle, the progressive taxation of property is anything but arbitrary.
And the reason a mansion tax is being discussed is that the current system of council tax is grotesquely unfair: people with the lowest value properties pay proportionately much, much more than those with more expensive homes.
In Kensington and Chelsea, someone at the upper rate of the lowest council tax band, with a property value of £40,000 pays 17 times more than a householder with a £2m property, as a proportion of their property value.
Even at the start of the highest council tax band, with properties at £320,000, the owner will proportionately pay five times more than someone with a £2m property.
The scale of inequality rises as the value of properties increase.