Cable's constituents: 'It's just another reason not to vote for him. As if I needed one'

Charlie Cooper talks mansion tax with voters in Richmond

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Indy Politics

The London Borough of Richmond is not a bad place to live. Despite the constant drone of Heathrow-bound aircraft, the streets are green and when the sun shines the birds sing.

With most streets dotted with houses worth upwards of £1-2 million, the neighbourhood is a hard-sell for Vince Cable's proposed mansion tax.

"It would be another reason not to vote for him – not that I needed one," said Mike Seitz, a 55-year-old hospital reform specialist and one of Mr Cable's Twickenham constituents. His detached house near the river would very likely incur the proposed tax penalty. "It's a stupid idea," he says.

Although the detail of how a mansion tax would work has not been laid out, the prospect of a penalty for properties valued from £1-2m has found little support in London, where price inflation and demographic shifts have transformed once-humble abodes into desirable real estate.

Round the corner from Mr Seitz's house live a couple who bought their home 40 years ago for just £10,000. The house would fetch upwards of £3m and the couple, who are in their mid-80s and have a shared annual pension and savings income of around £40,000, would incur the penalty if the mansion tax was brought in. "It's unrealistic to tax something like house prices, which are out of people's control," said Paul Salmon, a 45-year-old photographer whose Twickenham home is worth around £4m. "A tax on second or third homes would be more realistic."

Ian Parsons, 72, a retired journalist, said he was "deeply disappointed" with Mr Cable. "Someone with a seven-bedroom house in Gloucestershire or somewhere outside London might avoid this tax, but I, after upgrading my home myself, will have to pay it because of where I live. It's typical of the way legislation is formulated by this government – with no thought for consequences."