UK & World News

  • 17 February 2013, 11:37

Lib Dem Wealth Tax Crackdown On Heirlooms

Jewellery, paintings and other heirlooms could be taxed under radical new plans to hit the rich drawn up by the Liberal Democrats.

The French-style tax on possessions kept would see a levy on family treasures including furniture, rings and necklaces.

Households could be fined if they refuse to allow tax inspectors into their homes to value items.

Plans also include extending the proposed "mansion tax" to include holiday homes and buy-to-let properties.

The party is already committed to introducing a mansion tax on individual properties worth more than 2m on their own, which Labour is now backing.

Under the fresh proposals, the levy would be extended to include anyone with a total property portfolio worth more than 2m.

An internal policy consultation has concluded there "may be merit" in imposing the 1% levy on anyone with a land and property portfolio worth above the same threshold.

The document is to be debated by activists at the party's spring conference in Brighton next month.

MP Tessa Munt, who helped draw up the consultation paper, told the Mail on Sunday it was an "interesting idea".

Extending the mansion tax was reported to be favoured by some within the party as a vote-winner in the South West, where there is anger over second-home buyers forcing up prices.

But senior figures are also believed to have concerns that the move - in a package drawn up as part of preparations for the 2015 general election manifesto - could see some people taxed twice.

Landlords already pay tax on any rent they receive.

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, told Sky News: "I have been arguing for a small levy of 1% on very high value properties over 2m for years - long before Ed Miliband.

"The last thing I worry about is what the latest twists and turns are of Labour Party policy.

"What I think they need to to do is instead of constantly advocating other people's policies is come up with some of their own."

The proposals emerged as Labour - which this week backed the idea of a mansion tax to fund the return of a 10p income tax rate - challenged the Lib Dems to support it in a Commons vote

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "This consultation is part of the process of asking for ideas on how to ensure a fairer tax system.

"It is up to Lib Dem party members as to whether these eventually become party policy."