Tory MP backs mansion tax
Tory MP Guy Opperman has broken party ranks to back a mansion tax as a way to pay for tax cuts for the lowest paid.
His intervention comes just days before the Budget as Liberal Democrats push to see their policy of a mansion tax on properties worth £2m-plus included in Chancellor George Osborne's plans.
Mr Opperman has backed the mansion tax as a way to take anyone working full-time on the minimum wage out of paying any income tax - saving those affected around £1,000 and all basic ratepayers more than £700 a year.
"A mum working full-time, stacking shelves in my constituency, earning just the minimum wage, has nearly £1,000 taken from her in income tax; that's just wrong," said the Hexham MP.
"The Government is right to be raising the tax threshold to £10,000 which will put money into the pockets of everyone working hard for a living, but I would like to see the Government go further."
He added: "I believe that nobody earning the minimum wage and working a standard week should pay tax on that income. "This is a radical proposal, I accept. "It's not Lib Dem policy, nor is it Conservative party policy, but it should be. It's one I'll be championing with ministers."
The scheme would focus on those working hard, putting money on those on the minimum wage as well as those earning £20-25,000 feeling the squeeze, said Mr Opperman. "That's why I support calls for a mansion tax. A bit extra tax on properties over £2m seems perfectly fair to me.
"If you're buying a house worth £4 or £5m then I really think it's fair to ask you to pay a bit more in the country's coffers when you sell it."
But Mr Opperman warned against a rebanding of council tax, saying it would be expensive and hit everyone.
"The mansion tax should be applied as a premium when the house is sold, a bit like stamp duty does now," he said.