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London

Don’t forget Labour’s gruesome record with the GLA precept

I know 2.4% is a record but I do have a big fight on next yearFor those of you who have forgotten quite how expensive it was living under Ken Livingstone’s first, two term GLA administration I thought it was worth pulling out some old charts from eight years ago.

Back then I did a quick review of my bills for the last ten years to see how fast the Labour Mayor’s charge had risen in that time.

In 2008/9 it was 196% higher than it was the last year there were separate charges for the Police and Fire Brigade before the GLA came into being. In other words it took only 9 short years to triple the precept. Anyone paying a bill in 2003 will not have forgotten the 29% rise in the precept that year.

gla-band-d-precept.JPG

The figures in red in the table above are those for the year of a mayoral election. The 2000/1 figure was not the Mayor’s fault to be fair. This was proposed by civil servants. Clearly the Mayor was inspired by their boldness and managed to double the precept in four years in the early noughties. But in order to bolster his chances of being elected for a second time he proposed the lowest rise in five years in 2004/5. He even went a notch lower the next year to help protect London Labour MPs in the 2005 general election. But the next year the Mayor reverted to early noughties form and hit us with a 13.3% rise. Livingstone’s last rise of 2.4% was not enough to save himself from the righteous wrath of Londoners after 8 years of take and take.

gla-precept-increases.JPG

Categories
London

Is Sadiq Khan really so improvident as to have no savings whatsoever?

On Wednesday Labour’s London Mayor hopeful, Sadiq Khan, published what he calls his “Personal Tax Return”. Rather than the actual tax returns it was a ten year spreadsheet produced by his “personal chartered accountant”. See below, click to enlarge.

Khan's numbers

In his rush to differentiate himself from Zach Goldsmith Khan asserts that for ten years straight he has had no income from “Savings Income, Property, Trusts, etc”. Is Khan really saying that in ten years he has been so improvident as to have such punny savings that he has not incurred £1 of interest in any of the those ten years?

It is one thing not including ISAs on your tax returns as their returns are not taxable but if Khan has been receiving interest from savings he should be declaring this. The idea that Kahn has no savings seems unlikely. Leaving off this source of income undermines his figures and he should provide a complete picture. It is no good slagging off Goldsmith for his income from other sources and then being coy about his own.

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London

Tessa wants to keep your £20

The Olympic Precept was put in place by Tessa Jowell when she was in charge of the Olympics as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in the Labour government. It has been costing London council tax payers about £20 a year since 2006 and is due to come to an end next year.

Famously Ken Livingstone likened the £20 a year levy to being the equivalent of a Walnut Whip or 38p every week. This was typical of Livingstone’s careless, jocular approach to taking your money.

In his last budget the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, promised to give the money back to Londoners in the shape of a cut in the GLA Precept (which is added to council tax bills and collected by your local council on behalf of the GLA). The budget document says:

Olympic precept in budget

Labour’s leading candidate to be the London Mayor, our Tessa, has been promising to put £61 million into Sure Start. She lays claim to the original programme but is less keen to lay claim to the Olympic Precept we have been paying for ten years in London. Now she says she doesn’t want to let this cash go. Although she fails to spell it out clearly what she is proposing is that the £61 million will be paid for by adding £20 a year on your council tax, £20 that Boris has promised to stop taking from you. Tessa wants to keep your £20.

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London National politics

Two Ealingites who are glad to be out of Tower Hamlets today

Today the bent Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, was defenestrated in the High Court. There are two Ealing personalities who will be glad they are well off out of it.

Martin SmithOne is the Ealing Council Chief Executive, Martin Smith. Martin was the Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets until he fell foul of Lutfur Rahman.

Martin is an all round good guy and Ealing is lucky to have him. He is also the returning officer for the three Ealing constituencies that will be contested in two weeks’ time – which brings me to the second Ealingite.

Rupa Huq in Tower HamletsIn 2007 I am sure that Ealing Central and Acton Labour candidate, Rupa Huq, was disappointed to lose out to Rushnara Ali in the competition to become Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Bethnal Green & Bow constituency.

Huq stood as the Unison candidate and both Lutfur Rahman and John Biggs were on the shortlist. Eight years later and Unison in Tower Hamlets had switched its allegiance from Rupa Huq to Lutfur Rahman.

Both Smith and Huq must be glad to be operating in genteel Ealing in the west rather than bent, broken Tower Hamlets in the east.

Categories
London National politics

Labour will not spell out the details of the Mansion Tax – because it will be excruciating and it will trickle down

London_from_a_hot_air_balloon

I don’t live in a mansion. I live in an upmarket mid-terrace but given that it is in London the lower threshold of £2 million of Labour’s proposed mansion tax is in sight. It is still a distant sight but it is there on the horizon. I will share basics of successful investment journey you must know.

Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie was on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning being challenged on the details. Labour still refuses, two weeks before the election, to spell out how this major new tax wedge is going to be implemented.

The Mansion Tax will essentially be a successful Londoners’ tax and as such may well be attractive to many people in the country who are not successful Londoners. If you are a successful Londoner with a mortgage on a £2 million plus home it is likely that you are paying income tax at the “Additional rate” of 45%. Labour proposes to increase this rate to 50% as well as imposing its Mansion Tax. Leslie did admit on the radio this morning that these people will be paying £250 per month. It sounds modest until you multiply it by 12. You can multiply by 2 again in order to pay the 50% tax on the earnings you need to earn. These Londoners will have to earn an extra £6K a year just to carry on with their lives.

London is already pumping a net £34 billion a year into the UK government’s coffers. Labour’s Mansion Tax will be another £1.2 billion paid overwhelmingly by Londoners.

It is easy to propose new taxes on people who work hard and take risks. Don’t be surprised if they opt out of giving you the cash. Once the principle of the Mansion Tax is established the government will start to look at more modest houses to make up the shortfall and grow the tax base.

Categories
London

London housing is too expensive but Labour’s #ToryHousingCrisis nonsense doesn’t help anyone

London rents up 10 graphicThe great Labour lie machine rumbles on. For the last couple of weeks the London Labour party led by London Mayoral wannabe Sadiq Khan has been going #ToryHousingCrisis crazy.

The graphic they are tweeting is utter nonsense. It is based on a House of Commons Library paper reported here in the Evening Standard. I don’t suppose “journalist” Nicholas Cecil even bothered to read the original paper. I guess he just went with the Labour press release.

The silly apples and oranges comparison made in the paper compares average wages earned in very unusual places like Kensington and Chelsea with private rents in those boroughs. I couldn’t afford to rent in K&C when I came to London in 1984. I didn’t even think about it even though I had a relatively well paid graduate job. I ended up in Willsden Green. The comparison doesn’t include rents paid by people in those boroughs in social homes. It is utter nonsense.

For a bit of sanity go to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) who are working on a new Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP). According to ONS in the year to December 2013 private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by 1.0%.

IPHRP regional rent increases

LHC_leaflet_frontSure the ONS reckons London rents actually paid by private tenants are rising at a faster rate than the rest of the country – 1.6%. Wherever Labour got its number from it either estate agents’ nonsense or something made up by Labour. The ONS says 1.6%.

The main purpose of this typically mendacious campaign is to drive you to a webpage to sign a petition and give them your details so that they can hassle you electronically in the run up to the London council elections in May.

Update: The Full Fact orgnanisation looked into this and found out where Labour’s number came from. It comes with this qualification:

… the composition of the sample [used to produce rental data] varies over time and therefore caution is advised when drawing comparisons between the statistics reported in the period reported in this release and those for different time periods due to those variations.

Full Fact conclude:

So most of the indicators suggest 10% is an exaggerated figure for London’s private rental market, and we’ll be asking Labour to use more comparable figures for their rental claims.

I am sure Labour will ignore Fullfact’s request.

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