Boris Johnson and sister split over Labour's mansion tax
The London mayor says Miliband's tax is 'un-British' but sister Rachel hails it as 'political Viagra'
ED MILIBAND'S proposal to slug the owners of properties worth more than £2 million with a 'mansion tax' has divided the house of Johnson. London mayor Boris Johnson has condemned Labour's policy proposal as "un-British", while his sister, the journalist Rachel Johnson, said it was justified and represented "sheer political Viagra".
Boris devoted his column in the Daily Telegraph to a tirade against Labour's proposed tax, which is designed to raise up to £2bn and fund a revival of the 10p tax band. He advised the owners of expensive homes to stop carrying out repairs and halt renovations "because any such effort might lift you over the limit for Ed's so-called mansion tax".
The mayor said Miliband's first real policy announcement had revealed that Labour was returning to the "politics of envy and nihilistic class war". The tax was "un-British", "unfair" and discriminated against Londoners, who would bear the brunt of the initiative. He added that it might even encourage the owners of expensive houses to vandalise their property in a bid to reduce its worth and avoid the tax.
In her column in the Daily Mail, Rachel offered a more supportive appraisal of the mansion tax. She confessed that it might "ruin" her because the London house she bought with her husband for £385,000 in 1992 had appreciated so much it would qualify as a 'mansion'.
Rachel admitted Miliband's proposal was a clever political strategy, because it "surfs the country's waves of anger against bankers, the non-domiciled, foreigners, the super-rich and everything London…" Tongue somewhat in cheek, she declared "Well done, Ed!"
On a more serious note, Rachel suggested a mansion tax made sense because it was time she and her privileged peers – the baby boomers who enjoyed a free university education, fell into well-paid careers and watched property values rocket, particularly in London – started sharing some of their easily-won wealth with younger Britons.
"My peer group have created problems such as endless recession and rocketing property prices, but until now have not been keen to become part of the solution," she wrote. "I can see why a spot of moral capitalism from a man [Miliband] who went to a comprehensive, rather than oligarchy from Old Etonians, might be the ticket."
Her brother vehemently disagreed. If Miliband introduces his mansion tax it will sign his "political death warrant" he said. It would prove that the Labour leader was hostile to one of the "deepest instincts of the British people: to show the energy, enterprise and ambition to want to improve your own home and to raise its value".