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
Charlie Cooper is Health Correspondent for The Independent, i, and The Independent on Sunday, writing on the NHS, medical advances, and international health. Since joining the papers as an editorial assistant, he has been nominated for young journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards.
Thursday 08 March 2012
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."
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