12:14 PM, 24th February 2023, About 7 months ago 13
As landlords, we face the bizarre situation of being taxed without taking into account loan interest and not on the actual profits that we make – unlike any other business in the country.
Making a profit isn’t necessarily a bad thing because we provide a home and have expenses that need to be met when doing so.
This means I’m fully onboard with the petition to reinstate tax relief on mortgage interest which is attracting lots of attention in the property world and all landlords should sign it as a show of strength to a government that apparently doesn’t care whether we make a profit or not.
I’ve explained before that landlords are sitting ducks after years of negative publicity about us.
So, if you didn’t see the story, it appears that the Conservatives in government and their civil servants aren’t shy about racking up expenses as they enjoy spending sprees on gifts, fine dining and hotels.
Why not? It’s the taxpayer that is picking up the bill.
That was the accusation last week from Labour who say that the Conservative government has been enjoying lavish spending on hospitality with taxpayer-funded debit cards.
This comes from a Labour study of government spending in 2021.
For example, the Tories spent £23,457 on alcohol for overseas embassies and £3,393 or 13 fine art photographs.
Other examples of GPC spending include Foreign Office diplomats racking up £344,803 on restaurants and bars and the Ministry of Justice splashing out £4,019 on 150 branded USB cables for staff taking part in a virtual conference.
In response, the Conservative Party says that Labour spent around £1 billion on the same debit cards in 2009 when they were last in government.
It was unfortunate that Labour put up Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, to front the series of TV news shows and saying that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak must rein in spending across Whitehall.
This is Angela Rayner who bought two sets of luxury Apple AirPods Pro – after losing the first pair she had bought on expenses.
It is also the same Angela Rayner who also spent £1,619 on an Apple computer.
And the same Angela Rayner who wasn’t embarrassed to put a smashed mobile phone screen repair on the public credit card.
While Angela Rayner undoubtedly needs these items to do her job – do they have to be premium, branded products that are the most expensive around?
Rachel Reeves, a future potential Chancellor of the Exchequer (God help us) had her official expenses credit card suspended ‘after failing to show spending was valid’ in 2015.
My issue is that Labour says the expense claims are ‘inappropriate’.
It should come as no surprise that Labour says it will crackdown on waste and will introduce an Office of Value for Money (which sounds like a waste of money) to hold high standards and transparency on all public spending – including on Government Procurement Cards.
The tit-for-tat continued with the Conservative saying that the number of cards in use has been reduced and there is a requirement for any spending to be declared publicly.
It’s also true that the data is published on a monthly basis and has been since 2012 but Labour has managed to waste the time of civil servants’ worth up to £500,000 to put together the data that is already in the public domain.
It should also come as no surprise that civil servants spent the money in prime outlets with £1.51 million being spent on Amazon, £238,000 was splashed out with IKEA, they even managed to rack up £106,000 spending at John Lewis – surely the perennial favourite of the civil service. Poor Apple had just £101,000 of goods being bought.
I must confess I read the story with a sinking heart because the money is there for civil servants and politicians to enjoy what appears to be the high life but landlords who are getting increasingly desperate are not allowed to have their profits taxed, we have to endure having our turnover taxed.
In response to the section 24 petition, it takes some brass neck for the government to say that it is responsible for ensuring that the income tax system in this country is fair.
But is racking up huge amounts on government credit cards and MPs claiming phenomenal amounts as expenses for their day-to-day activities, any worse or better than landlords claiming relief on their finance costs?
I know where I stand on this issue, and I cannot believe the hypocrisy of our elected members and civil servants spending so much money without any reflection on how this looks.
To say that I am dismayed about how much money has been thrown about, some will be for a good purpose, is disappointing.
And I cannot help but offer a wry smile at the response from HM Treasury to the petition that this is a government understands that people, including tenants, are worried about the cost-of-living challenges which is why they have taken decisive action to support households while remaining fiscally responsible.
Obviously, that does not include long-suffering and hard-working landlords who will be left ruing the day they invested in buy to let but then we are outgunned from every direction with no organisation or indeed landlords standing up to be counting.
It’s the rank hypocrisy I don’t understand – MPs and those in power don’t have an issue with claiming expenses to deliver their ‘service’, but landlords must be denied and made poorer for housing people.
Is this really the future?
Until next time,
The Landlord Crusader
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