Tories claim Labour will hit homeowners with 'Marxist' Garden Tax
More than 10 million homeowners would be hit by a 'Marxist' Labour plan to tax family properties, the Tories have claimed.
The Labour manifesto includes a proposal to consider replacing council tax with a Land Value Tax, with a policy document produced for the party two years ago suggesting a levy of 3% on the value of property owners' land, including gardens.
Jeremy Corbyn's party says the policy would be one way to "ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term", but Chancellor Philip Hammond characterised the idea as a "Marxist" tax grab.
The Tories claim the levy would mean the average local tax bill for families soaring from £1,185 to £3,837 per year.
Data from a council tax revaluation undertaken by the last Labour government suggests some 10.2 million homes are considered to have "above average" sized gardens, defined as over 200 square metres.
Areas with high land values would be the hardest hit, but less affluent areas where owners can afford bigger gardens would also face a steep rise in bills.
While there is little detail in Labour's manifesto, the Labour Land Campaign document from 2015 suggests an initial Land Value Tax on rented residential properties, second homes and "large country estates".
But it goes on to say that after a "transition period" of 10-20 years the rate for owner-occupied properties would also "be raised gradually" to reach 3% of property value.
Communities Minister Andrew Percy said: “Under Jeremy Corbyn’s plans no one escapes Labour’s intention to squeeze homeowners dry.
"Either you are whacked with massive bills in places where property is dearer – or you’ll suffer a hike for living in a part of the country where there is more space for bigger gardens."
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Hammond also went on the attack, saying:
“This is one of the ways in which Labour will tax ordinary families to pay for its profligacy.
“It is an old favourite of the extreme Left. There is more than a little bit of ideology in this, attacking land on Marxist principles.”