Data from estate agent Savills suggests that Labour’s proposed mansion tax could swing the vote in a number of marginal London constituencies. Property specialist Simon Morris asks; could the mansion tax determine the outcome of the UK’s general election?
What is the mansion tax?
This is the tightest general election in a generation. We’re no longer living in a two party state. The rise of fringe parties such as UKIP and the Greens has forced Labour and the Tories onto the back foot. Experts doubt either will secure enough seats to form a majority government.
This hasn’t stopped them from trying. Labour has tried to appeal to voters by proposing the ultimate populist policy. The mansion tax. This policy would impose a tax on anybody who has a property worth more than £2 million. The tax has proved controversial. Famous names such as Myleene Klass and even Angelina Jolie have spoken out against the mansion tax.
Mansion tax could cost Labour the election
New research from Savills suggests that the mansion tax may cost Labour the election. This research found that a quarter of the £2 million homes in London that have been sold since 2011 were in Labour held seats.
The Evening Standard reported this story. They wrote that Labour and the Conservatives have differing perceptions on how the mansion tax may affect the outcome of the general election. Labour believe that it isn’t a key concern for their voters, however the Tories think it could sway 2,000 voters to their side.
Mansion tax could swing marginal seats
The Conservatives believe that this is because the London residential property market is on the up. This means that the mansion tax may affect homeowners with property worth £1.5 million. They may fear that the value of their property will go up and push it over the mansion tax threshold.
The director of residential research at Savills, Lucian Cook, explained what this means for Labour. Cook said that “our analysis shows that the mansion tax could be a significant issue for the electorate in a number of key constituencies in London.” This includes the Labour held seat of Hampstead & Kilburn, which is a Conservative target, as well as the seats of Battersea and Brentworth & Isleworth which Labour hopes to gain. Each seat could go either way and each seat has a number of voters who could fall prey to the mansion tax.
Mansion tax could hand Westminster to David Cameron
This suggests that the mansion tax may have the power to swing the election; handing Westminster to David Cameron. This is because opinion polls are so close that the outcome of the national vote may come down to a few swing seats in London; seats where voters could be disproportionately affected by the mansion tax if Labour make it to Whitehall.
The property industry is also against the mansion tax. A survey from the National Association of Estate Agents showed that 57% of estate agents believe that the policy will have the biggest negative impact of any party property policy on the UK housing market. In contrast 45% of estate agents believe that the Tories’ promise to build 200,000 homes would be the best policy for the sector.