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What is Polly arguing for?

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NuLabour’s cheerleader appears to want to tax housing

Polly Toynbee, the descendant of the 9th. Earl of Carlisle, and owner of a villa in Tuscany writes in her Guardian CIF column today on how she would propose to burst any future bubbles in the housing market. Well, one would normally expect the construction sector to provide one of the first signs that economic recovery has started after the end of a recession but she would intend to bring it to an agonising slowdown with punitive taxation – way to go Polly!

Sober observers watching the government trying to start the dead motor of the housing market warn that once the engine catches, an uncontrollable, rocket-fuelled turbo take-off will leave them standing. Pent-up demand is high: plenty of people have money to invest if they see a chance. Property speculation is hardwired in the British brain after decades of a one-way bet – with only a few small blips. Bricks and mortar are our pensions, piggybanks, casinos, our children’s university and their first flat deposit. How do we return to regarding a home as just another commodity like saucepans?

Yet only moments ago she was telling us that real incomes have hardly risen since 2003, so where is this big lake of cash hiding, waiting to be invested Polly? Savings have hardly been less healthy in the UK and current interest rates are not what you would call encouraging for savers, and because of the Brown induced debt fuelled boom the credit crunch is preventing  builders from accessing the liquidity needed to finish projects that have already been started, the Westoe Crown Village in South Shields is a good example.

House prices only rise because of increase in  demand and a shortage of supply, and when people see a profit in their investment it somehow becomes a crime to realise it by moving house, yet again. However, Polly, there are many people who are quite prepared to see their house as a home and not a trading commodity, prepared to live in it for many years, raise a family, and finally pass the property on after their death. Is this somehow unreasonable? Polly seems to think it is and wants to put an end to it all:

Now is the time to tell people that house prices will not be allowed to go mad again. Announce a tax to be imposed on future gains (not retrospectively). There are plenty of ways to do it. Some administrations impose an annual tax, including many US states. Some urge a land value tax system. It would be easy to impose capital gains tax on all future rises: that 18% on any inflation in value, only to be paid on selling it, could stop another bubble. The money raised could be earmarked for building social and private rented homes, or helping others to buy.

Oh, right, a cheap way for private landlords to add to their estates!

Parties that dare not revalue the banding system for council tax – which has unchanged since 1991, letting enormous wealth escape even that modest rise – are certainly not in a mood to challenge the Englishman’s right to inflate his bouncy castle. Current pressure is all for even less tax. Property developers want to escape their section 106 planning gain obligations. Progress suggests a stamp duty holiday. Inheritance tax cuts will ensure virtually no family homes are ever taxed.

So having taxed all future profitable sales of homes she sees another way to burst the bubble with much higher council taxes as a punishment for owning your own gaffe, and she bashes those who believe that inheritances should be seen as the reward for hard work, thrift, saving for a rainy day, and dutifully paying your taxes throughout your working life – tax them again Polly that’s the Brown way of doing things!

She even manages to say that the state of the housing market is partially responsible for the rise in BNP support, I ask you, is she a little confused or what?

Finally, this little gem:

Most people will stay both seduced and enslaved by property, while 30% have no chance of joining in, apart for ever in social housing ghettos. Ignore any politicians talking about rebalancing the housing mix between ownership and renting, unless they are willing to use tax to dampen the incentive to buy.

Social housing ghettos, what a statement from one of Labour’s most avid supporters! She wants far more of us to rent rather than to own, she wants to kill off aspiration and hope instead of seeing the errors of Brown’s ways with money, and it’s all rather rich coming from someone earning a God damn huge salary at The Guardian and flaunting off to the second home in Italy whenever she fancies.

How about returning to honest money and honest values Polly? How about getting Gordon to reign back the public spending and borrowing, balance the books, cut taxes, allow interest rates to rise instead of keeping them ridiculously low in the vain hope that this will induce confidence. What Britain needs now is to get to the bottom of this recession as fast as possible, putting up with the pain and distress along the way, and alleviating the social costs where we can and should. Then we can return to saving, raising bank deposits and liquidity, investments will then see a return and the housing market along with all other construction sectors will start to build our recovery. But for heaven’s sake, don’t kill it all off with punitive taxation.

You either want recovery Polly, or you don’t, which one are you arguing for?

What a divvy!

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Written by curly

February 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm

2 Responses

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  1. There appears to be a New Labour disease, where ‘victims’ have commonsense removed and start to believe their own rhetoric. I am not sure what the cure is, but I suspect a good start would be to remove them from ‘public’ life, perhaps a small cottage in the Highlands for some and a villa in Tuscany for others?

    UK Voter

    February 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm

  2. Quite how these lunatics get given a space to spout this sort of nonsense is beyond me.

    I suppose, sadly, it means they’re are plenty of people who actually want to believe this nonsense.

    tbrrob

    February 24, 2009 at 9:50 pm


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