Westminster Council announces ‘voluntary’ mansion tax
Wealthy home-owners will be offered chance to pay more tax in new scheme
06 October, 2017 — By Chloe Livadeas
Council leader Nickie Aiken
COUNCIL chiefs have announced a voluntary mansion tax for homeowners whose property is worth £10million or more.
The charge, which is due to be collected from April, would potentially apply to around 2000 households in Westminster due to the borough’s famously expensive property market.
It could raise an extra £1,376 per property, doubling the amount that is currently collected in council tax.
Council leader Nickie Aiken said: “Westminster is home to some of the poorest and richest people in the country and some of the most expensive real estate in the world. But while there is a reality to the cost of living in a capital, this is a council and a government committed to fairness. There is more we can do to help those who are struggling to pay the bills.”
Cllr Aiken said she is confident that many would opt to pay the levy, and that she had spoken to wealthy people who wanted to contribute more to the borough.
Westminster council is lobbying for the tax to become mandatory, and says other local authorities could begin thinking about implement the voluntary payment to the top 2 percent of most expensive properties in their area.
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, said: “This is clearly not the answer to the crisis to local government funding. If they can raise any money its better than none at all, but I am sceptical. I’d be pleased to be proved wrong.”
She added: “The sensible thing would be to have additional bands on the council tax while we’re having a serious think about funding. There’s not an easy solution.”
Cllr Aiken, meanwhile, led a discussion on housing at a Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Monday evening.
She was asked what could be done to tackle the levels of rough sleeping in Westminster by a representative from the St Mungo’s homelessness charity.
“Westminster does have a rough sleeping issue but I think it’s important to make it very clear that last year around about 1,700 people slept rough on the streets of Westminster – not every night, but across the year – and 27 of those were Westminster residents,” the council leader said. “There has to be some balance because we do spend millions of pounds on our rough sleeping, but these aren’t our residents.”