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Labour mansion tax motion suffers defeat

An opposition motion for the introduction of a mansion tax on expensive UK properties has been defeated in the House of Commons.

Labour MPs tabled an opposition day motion last week for a levy on properties valued at more than £2m in the House of Commons.

Although it was Labour who proposed the tax, Labour shadow treasury minister Chris Leslie was unable to guarantee it would appear in the party manifesto at the next general election. He said the party could not know what “other horrors” will appear either the Budget or the spending review in June in order to give a definitive position ahead of the election.

Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie opened the motion for Labour, which was defeated by 304 votes to 241.

Business Secretary Vince Cable told BBC Radio 4 on Monday the Lib Dems would not side with Labour in the vote. The party instead tabled an amendment which recognised the party’s support for a mansion tax without voting for the Labour proposal.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown abolished the 10p tax band in 2008. Miliband described the move as a mistake and vowed to reintroduce the band through a levy on properties valued at £2m or more. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the proposed levy on approximately 70,000 UK homes valued at above £2m would raise at least £1.7bn.

Following the vote, Leslie accused the LibDems of failing to support their own flagship policy.

He said: “Nick Clegg and the rest of the Liberal Democrats once again betrayed their principles and their supporters.”

Enness Private Clients managing director Hugh Wade-Jones says: “It is just impossible proposal to police. In reality, some of these properties are going to be owned in trusts or companies and it then becomes a question of how they are going to get access to them to value them.

“It is almost encouraging people not to improve their homes as well as well as sending out the wrong message on property. Are they implying the people who own these properties do not pay enough tax as it is, or that they are benefiting too much from it?”

Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out the introduction of a mansion tax in October, who promised separate measures to ensure high earners pay more.

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