‘Humanitarian’ campaign launched to stop Labour’s mansion tax
PUBLISHED: 10:00 17 October 2014
A former government medical adviser has launched a campaign calling for the Labour Party to scrap its controversial mansion tax plans, insisting it’s a “humanitarian” issue.
Retired Hampstead resident Dr Harald Lipman, who served as senior medical adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for more than 20 years, has attracted the backing of hundreds of signatories from across London and beyond to the Stop the Mansion Tax campaign.
Campaigners are lobbying every single MP urging them to oppose the annual levy proposed by Labour on all £2million-plus homes to help generate £1.2billion for the NHS.
If the campaign attracts enough support, there are plans to submit an official petition to Labour opposing the plans and campaigners are not ruling out a protest march.
Dr Lipman, of Fitzjohn’s Avenue, said: “This is a non-partisan, apolitical campaign, it’s humanitarian.
“One can understand the rationale behind wanting to raise more funds to support the NHS but we are opposed to a mansion tax per se, which targets unfairly and inappropriately a small proportion of the population.
“It targets people who in many ways are not going to be in a position to pay such a tax.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband announced the mansion tax proposals at his party’s annual conference last month and it has been suggested the average levy could be £12,000 annually, based on estimates that about 100,000 homes nationally will be affected.
Critics claim the tax will unfairly hit homeowners in desirable areas, such as Hampstead and Highgate, who are not cash-rich but live in properties that have risen steeply in value over the years.
Last week, Labour peer Lord Melvyn Bragg joined Labour’s Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson in opposing the mansion tax, describing it as a “crude weapon” and warning it could have “wiped out Hampstead as a Labour seat”.
East Finchley resident Annette Hammond, a Stop the Mansion Tax campaigner, said she would currently not be affected by the tax but opposed it nonetheless.
“This could be the thin end of the wedge and on principle I find it a very bad thing to bring in,” she said.
Art dealer James Butterwick, who lives in Hammersmith and is backing the campaign, said the proposed tax would force him to sell his home and business.
“I have a gallery in my house and in order to survive I’d have to close my gallery,” he said.
“For me it would mean the closing of my business, the selling of my house and a complete upheaval of everything that I hold dear.
“The person I’m most concerned about is my mother who lives in a house which is probably worth £4m, which my father bought in 1960. She would have to move and at the age of 77 it would be extremely traumatic for her.”
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