Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stamp Duty Change: Let's Bring Landlords Inside the Civic Commonwealth Too

Dizzy is sitting fuming outside the big tent at Tory Party conference. He is looking forward to lurched-to-the-right Tories saying they'll cut some tax and actually meaning it. In this case raising the Stamp Duty threshhold.

Surely due for a change anyway Dizzy? Auction ahoy!

The return of serious rent control could be a balancing item for us reds. That would save poorer renters and the Housing benefit system money and also hopefully drive some of the greedy but low end scoundrels out of the market. Freeing up homes for first time buyers and probably stilling house price inflation in the entry sector.

And there's more. If they stick students or quasi students into their hovels and slums these rentiers don't even have to pay Council Tax. This is understandably not popular in neighbourhoods where such dwellings generate a good deal of requirement for services and no Council Tax. Some disreputable political parties even use this to whip up anti-student feeling.

Students are brilliant. Well the pavements here in number one student destination Manchester are thick with them. But many stay when their brain grading days are done. They are growing our population. They are doing our shit jobs. They are building profits for breweries, fast food chains and budget supermarkets.

And when they stay their ideas and entrepreneurialism and increasing spending power are just the ticket for the Original Modern City.

I won't hear a word said against them.

On the other hand many landlords don't do the basics. Even providing adequate binnage appears beyond them. Keeping external plumbing in decent repair and rodents controlled are an insurmountable challenge for many more. Dumped white goods and flammable furniture seem to be de rigeur.

Rented properties are businesses. Landlords should contribute via a form of business rates. Otherwise they are benefitting in the pocket from the services while not contributing properly to funding them.

So Gordon: call the Tory twaddle on Stamp Duty. A change already planned no doubt. And raise them some rent control and some business rates on landlords. Let's see them Tories reeling some more. Ignore Michael Meacher's bleating.

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