Happy New Year George Osborne!Make Text Bigger
Well George, it’s that time again when you look back on the past year and forward to the year ahead.
How was 2015 for you? You are probably feeling very pleased with your achievements. Your Conservative party was elected with an overall majority in the May election. Now there is no Clegg, Cable or other moderate Liberals to hold you back. You and your chum Dave are in full control, marching on with the policies that suit your political aims.
Free from the constraints of coalition, you didn’t waste much time in bringing forward proposals that were not in your election manifesto and were ruled out by David Cameron’s promise to the electorate that income tax would not be increased in this parliament. In your Summer Budget on 8 July, you put the boot into landlords with your Alice in Wonderland Tax which will prevent landlords offsetting legitimate business costs against profit. Despite the protests from landlords, the Institute of Financial Studies, Professor Philip Booth, the ICAEW and many others, no amendments were made to your proposal and you easily got this legislation through Parliament.
You really had it in for buy to let in 2015 didn’t you? In addition to removing the 10% wear and tear allowance, you also announced in your Autumn Statement that from April 2016, Higher Rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax would apply to the purchase of buy to let properties and second homes.
Your political priority is clearly to promote home ownership, but unfortunately you are forgetting those who can’t afford to buy and can’t access social housing. Can’t you see that your Clause 24 buy to let tax grab will not help first time buyers get mortgages? For years, successive governments have recognised the important role played by the private rented sector. What has changed George?
Looking ahead to 2016, what might be in store? Do you have other buy to let tax grabs up your sleeve to be announced in your March budget? Let’s hope not, as your existing policies are already perfectly adequate to achieve your objective of taxing most landlords out of existence.
We don’t have a crystal ball and so can’t predict what other surprises you will come up with next. We can however make a few predictions for 2016, based on the proposals you announced in 2015. Just for you George, here are our predictions:
- Your buy to let tax grab will result in rent increases as landlords will need to pass on their additional costs to their customers. Your buy to let tax grab will become known as ‘George’s Tenant Tax’ once tenants realise what has caused their rent increases.
- Homelessness will increase as tenants will be evicted by landlords who are forced to sell to avoid your buy to let tax grab.
- Local authorities will begin to realise what is going on when the costs they incur housing the homeless begin to increase. The owners of bed and breakfast establishments will be delighted as their rooms will always be full.
- From April, the housing market will begin to stagnate as your 3% stamp duty hike kicks in. Your housing supply targets will not be met as your policies are not encouraging investment in all tenures of housing.
- In the spring, your officials in HM Treasury will be very busy preparing to defend the Judicial Review of your buy to let tax grab. That’s right George, a Judicial Review! Did you really think you could get away with this absurd tax proposal? Did you think landlords would not fight back and defend their businesses?
We are raising funds to challenge you in court. Here is our fund raising page. It’s amazing what can be achieved when so many people feel aggrieved and are willing to contribute to a good cause.
Well George, that’s about it from us. We do wish you health and happiness in 2016 but we do hope you will get some better advisers in 2016 than those you had in 2015. Happy New Year.
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