diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 25, 2014

If you read the Evening Standard, you'll know that one of the greatest threats facing the capital today is the mansion tax. This annual imposition might be levied on every UK household valued at over two million pounds, should a Labour government come to power, and the revenue used to help fund the NHS. The Evening Standard is very much against the introduction of a mansion tax, as you can tell by the frequency with which they publish stories about how awful it will be. There are rarely any balancing arguments, only facts against and negative public opinion, often supported by editorial comment. It's plain that the Evening Standard strongly supports the interests of London's £2m+ homeowners, and would like the rest of its readership to do so too.

Yesterday the paper published the results of a survey in which a well known property website was asked count up the precise number of properties worth over two million pounds. Around 20000 homes outside the capital would be affected by a mansion tax, but 86000 inside, which is a higher estimate than expected and therefore ghastly. The survey also totted up the total number of £2m+ homes borough by borough, including the terrifying news that 22454 homes in Kensington and Chelsea would be hit, 18596 in Westminster and even 37 in Redbridge. And OK, so Barking and Dagenham gets away with having none at all, but imagine the number of 'asset-rich cash-poor' residents who might be left seriously out of pocket elsewhere.

So relentlessly one-sided is the Evening Standard's reporting that I thought their figures could do with a sense of proportion. I checked out the last census and discovered that there are approximately 3¼ million households in London, of which less than 3% might be affected by a mansion tax. In inner London that percentage rises to 5%, whereas in outer London it's less than 1%, with over half of London's boroughs even lower than that. Indeed the number of homes in the capital not affected by a mansion tax would be 3,180,000, which puts the Standard's headline figure of 86000 firmly in the shade.

This map shows, borough by borough, how little the mansion tax would really affect the capital. Don't expect to see it in the Evening Standard any time soon.

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