According to Oxfam, 85 global billionaires have more money than half the world’s population. The “bedroom tax” is causing untold misery and homeless families struggle in bed and breakfast accommodation. House prices are soaring. Housing benefit claimants in under-occupied properties are being financially penalised, whilst the mere suggestion that rich people in their under-occupied homes are taxed is greeted by powerful people with shock and derision
So why are we so afraid of introducing a mansion tax? It is clear that a tax on your property cannot be hidden by a well-paid accountant, and is not easy to abuse. The original proposition 3 years ago, was for properties over £1 million to be subjected to this tax, but such was the outcry (as there were so many residents in this position) that the threshold was raised to £2 million.
Contrast this with the silent acceptance of suffering in families affected by austerity and public sector cuts. This is generating huge amounts of misery and desperation. Unemployment and underemployment. Cuts to disabled people. Low pay and job insecurity. Rural poverty and the isolation of poor families in our countryside.
Will we reach a tipping point when we say no more and that we need to listen to the poor for a change? The poor have less resources to be able to counter-act more suffering, and yet it is heaped on them. The mansion tax would signal that the Government are prepared to look at a system to distribute wealth, and that a fairer society is here to stay.