London Mayor Boris Johnson warns UK should not 'slam the door' on super-rich foreigners
The London Mayor's remarks came after the Chancellor announced an "oligarch tax" in the Autumn Statement last year
London Mayor Boris Johnson has said it would be “utterly nuts” to “slam the door” on wealthy foreigners who buy property in the capital, after Chancellor George Osborne announced a so-called “oligarch tax”.
A sharp increase in property purchases from overseas buyers, particularly rich investors such as Russian oligarchs, has been blamed for spiralling housing prices in the capital.
Mr Osborne plans to impose the tax on the sale of homes by non-UK residents in an attempt to ease the capital’s strained housing market.
In a speech to the annual Mansion House London Government Dinner, Mr Johnson did not refer directly to the tax policy, but said: “I do not in any way want to deter international investment in our city. Quite the reverse: I want to encourage it.
"You can see astonishing transformations taking place in London thanks to international investment.
“We would be utterly nuts as a society if we did anything to turn that away.”
Mr Johnson also said he recognised there was a “desperate shortage of homes” in the capital - with up to 47,000 needing to be built a year to meet current demand.
New building projects should be “marketed first to Londoners”, he said, adding that foreign owners should either live in or rent out their properties to prevent properties being seen as “blocks of bullion in the sky”.
Mr Osborne confirmed in his Autumn Statement that non-UK residents would have to pay capital gains tax (CGT) on property sales from April 2015.
Mr Johnson criticised Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable - a London MP - who warned recently that the capital was “becoming a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country”.
“I hope they take Vince down Crossrail. Not to entomb him there of course - perish the thought - but so he can see a project that will grow the UK economy by £63 billion, that is creating three fifths of its contracts outside London that is helping tens of thousands of people into jobs across the country,” the Mayor said.
One of those was a cable company “so old that they probably made Vince Cable himself,” he added.
Additional reporting by PA
- 1 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 2 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...