Why we should get ready to really say NO to George

Why we should get ready to really say NO to George

9:05 AM, 1st December 2015, About 7 years ago 53

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boarThe Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 2015 Autumn statement put me in mind of a scene from the epic television series Game of Thrones.

In the scene, a musician, captured for making mock of the fatal goring by a wild boar of the former king of Westeros Robert Baratheon, is being forced to re-perform his offending material before the new king, Joffrey Baratheon, and his court.

Upon completion of the final line of the song – “the lion ripped his b*lls off aaaaand… the boar did all the rest” – the boy-king Joffrey leads an applause of the performance and then openly toys with the musician as to which body-part to have amputated from him as punishment.

When the musician begs “Every man needs hands your Grace”, Joffrey merely smiles and chirps back “Good… tongue it is.”

My memory of this scene was triggered at the point of the Autumn Statement when George Osborne recalled being told of the unfairness of restricting mortgage-interest tax-relief for individual landlords. It was from this point in the speech, with barely-concealed mocking reference to such unfairness, that the Chancellor then proceeded to announce a 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on landlord house purchases: gutting and making yet further example of his chosen scapegoat before the Nation.

But at least we could presume in Game of Thrones that the poor singer got to keep his hands. Furthermore, the Osbornesque small print to this policy is that commercial property investors, with more than 15 properties, are expected to be exempt from the new charges. So rather than correcting the disparity in treatment between individual and corporate landlords, the Stamp Duty surcharge is set to exacerbate it. The twist to this “fair” announcement is therefore as dishonest as it is vindictive.

Based on the letters I have sent, and the letters sent by other parties that I have read, explaining the very unfairness of restricting mortgage-interest tax relief to which Mr Osborne was no doubt referring, I feel that I can be sure (as can you) that such correspondence would also have detailed the inevitable drastic social consequences proceeding from the measure. These being of course, higher rents, evictions and untenable pressure upon the waiting lists of councils and housing charities.

That George Osborne’s response to such dire concerns, was to be inspired to dry mockery and announce yet another tax-raid upon landlords livelihoods, is just as great a reflection upon his overall character as a person, as it is towards his specific attitude towards buy-to-let landlords. Or to put it another way, it is just as much an indication of his conduct as an eventual Prime Minister than a display of his current conduct as Chancellor.

So putting aside the obvious disastrous effects of Clause 24, what will be the favourable outcomes for George Osborne and the Government of its implementation? Will it solve the disparity between the demand and supply for homes in the United Kingdom? No it will not, because this disparity is the cause of population (demand) increasing at a faster rate than the construction of new homes (supply).

Shall tenants benefit from a so-called “leveling of the playing field” between owner-occupiers and landlords, by becoming owner-occupiers themselves en-masse? No they will not, because the overwhelming majority of people who rent do so because they NEED to: they need rental accommodation because they are either, too early into their current job to be sure of their position far enough into the future, working temporarily in the UK or a particular part of the UK, or prevented by unemployment, restricted working hours, single-parenthood, illness, disability or a poor credit record from being able to buy a house. It is true that such people will be shifted out of the private rental sector by Clause 24, but not into their own houses. They will be shifted into the spare rooms of their parents, onto the sofas of their friends, and on to the waiting lists of councils and housing charities. Clause 24 cannot therefore have been designed with their welfare in mind.

Shall the measure stimulate increased tax revenue? Yes… at least for as long the rump of the buy-to-let landlords it is targeting can remain afloat. But if the motivation of Clause 24 was to generate much needed finance for government spending, why isolate it to individual buy-to-let landlords? Why not levy such further taxation upon rental incomes across the board, raiding the deeper pockets of corporate and cash buyers? After all, aren’t these parties the most able (or should I say “the least unable”) to pay? Should not those with the biggest shoulders assume the heaviest burden? In relation to personal income tax, this mantra has been parroted by Tory ministers for as long as we can remember. So why anomalously discard it when taxing rental income? Why indeed…

Shall wealthy corporate landlords/companies, with significant lobbying power and the potential to donate large sums of money to the Conservative Party, be gifted an unfair advantage and empowered to replace smaller individual landlords upon their being taxed to absolute financial ruin? YES THEY SHALL, because Clause 24 grossly and specifically inflates the tax-liability of individual landlords with buy-to-let mortgages: namely the working and middle class landlords who do not fall into the aforementioned category and who possess negligible inducements with which to buy political influence.

The social consequences of Clause 24 have been made clear to George Osborne by many landlords and by a growing minority of media commentators choosing not to bandwagon. Furthermore, owing to Mr Osborne being an individual of above-average intelligence and no less than The Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the notion that he would not already have been aware of Clause 24’s social consequences prior to its inception is highly unlikely. Given these rather obvious circumstances one can only conclude that in the Westminster playground he inhabits, the fulfillment of vested interests are a higher priority to George Osborne than cries of upheaval and pain from the country at large: a priority high enough to warrant stabbing a substantial section of his party’s voters in the back for its preservation.

Through the Finance Bill 2015-16 we have learned of George Osborne’s willingness to heartlessly exploit an extremely ill-informed media bandwagon and to persecute landlords for his own political gain. But we have also learned that honesty, integrity, morality and public service – qualities essential to a political leader – are qualities of which the Chancellor is not in possession. In showing himself to be desensitised, backstabbing, mocking towards the suffering of people, and willing to manipulate the fiscal levers of government in preference of vested corporate interests, George Osborne has demonstrated why he must never be allowed to become Prime Minister of this country.

With that in mind, I believe it is time that we prepare to say “no” to George: I mean really say “no” to George. This means that as well as signing the online petition to reverse Clause 24 https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104880 every landlord should register as supporters of the Conservative Party to become eligible to vote in its eventual leadership election https://www.conservatives.com/join If we are persistent in promoting this idea to as many landlords as possible via as many channels as we can, between now and the close of David Cameron’s tenure as party leader we could have a great many people able to influence the outcome of the final ballot. Were Mr Osborne to be aware of this activity in the run-up to his leadership campaign, he may just realise the extent of this grave policy error and the very real, political cost to himself of enacting it. If however, we remain dissatisfied with Mr Osborne’s performance and decision-making, we can all vote for his rival in the contest, thereby discovering if he is even half as amusing towards losing as he was in the Autumn Statement to our warnings concerning Clause 24.



Comments

Gareth Wilson

8:47 AM, 3rd December 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Carol Duckfield" at "03/12/2015 - 08:42":

Perhaps someone who is yet to e-mail him via the Treasury should ask him about his own tax affairs, with some the newspaper contacts on BCC.

Ian Johnson

12:44 PM, 9th December 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Richard Mann" at "01/12/2015 - 23:57":

Hi Richard,

Most importantly, don’t lose your head. I’m objective about what the private landlord community and our tenants can achieve working together. A couple of hundred thousand Corbynites representing less than 0.5% of the electorate have devastated the Parliamentary Labour Party, so 2 million well-funded landlords with our tenants should be able to articulate the problems of this ill-thought through political positioning to the person who wants to be elected as the next leader of the Conservative party and his fellow MP’s who have to nominate him. Several things you can do.

First is to sign the parliament petition to reverse the planned tax relief restriction for individual landlords. I’m surprised at how few signatures it has achieved, especially considering the number of landlords and tenants who are affected by the planned change. Send the link to your tenants explaining the consequences of the changes to them, and ask them to sign the petition too. The url is https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104880

When you sign the petition, it will show the Member of Parliament who represents you in government. You can write to him/her explaining the consequences to you and your tenants of the planned changes, and ask them to lobby George Osborne and the treasury select committee on the extremely damaging consequences.

For many landlords, your MP will be George Osborne. As such you are entitled to attend his MP’s surgeries in your constituency and explain the consequences to you and your tenants to him directly. Invite the BBC, and make a noise. This seems to work to get on the news for Stop The War supporters.

For many of us managing our own businesses, the Conservative party has been the political party that most closely aligned with our pro-business views and the one we would most likely vote for in an election. However having George Osborne with his anti-small business views in charge of the country’s finances and his frequent introduction of hugely damaging changes to our businesses with no consultation, our ability to plan for our future business growth with the employment of the many tradesmen and professional services that we require as part of our day to day business is being severely hindered, and in many cases our business models rendered unviable. As with all democratic political parties, they represent their members. Therefore we can do the following.

There are an estimated 150,000 Conservative party members, many being landlords. For those landlords not currently members of the Conservative party, join and make your views known to your local Conservative constituency. These constituencies are responsible for the selection (and de-selection) of the individuals put forward for election to parliament clearly should have values shared by the majority of the local members they represent. Even George Osborne is answerable to his local Conservative constituency members at the end of the day, and they have the power to deselect him.

As pointed out in other posts, when David Cameron steps down, there will be an election for a new party leader where all Conservative party members will have a vote for the next leader. An anti-small business and anti-property business chancellor will attract as much support from Conservative party members with as those who ran against Jeremy Corbyn during the Labour leadership campaign.

What we do need is a single campaign group that we landlords can fund to represent the private individual property business industry and coordinate our response to this hugely destructive regulation. Ironically, Jeremy Corbyn has shown how devastatingly effective such campaigning can be on a political party. Having bought shares in the Proterty118 portal in support of the positive disruptive effect this could have on the old estate agent cartel, I’m happy to put my money where my mouth is and contribute to a campaign group. Any members up to lead this challenge?

Gareth Wilson

15:06 PM, 9th December 2015, About 7 years ago

On the subject of local constituencies that Ian has helpfully raised, there are local Conservative Associations that can be contacted too. Via your local association's website you can find the e-mail addresses of nearly all of its associated MPs, MEPs and councillors. Most of these people are working professionals and business-owners acting as local councillors on a part-time basis: they are therefore likely to be small-scale landlords and unaware of the effects of Clause 24. They would probably appreciate being informed of this and disappointed at the anti-small business direction in which George Osborne is taking the party.

Gareth Wilson

10:52 AM, 2nd January 2016, About 7 years ago

Old news concerning George Osborne, but worth remembering in measuring the integrity of the man and his tax policies relating to housing:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3152536/Chancellor-George-Osborne-s-family-firm-6million-property-deal-developer-based-tax-haven.html

money manager

14:41 PM, 2nd January 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gareth Wilson" at "02/01/2016 - 10:52":

On a simple reading of the article it would appear that indeed the Osbourne company would have been liable for CT, it's just that by selling to a non resident company that was not it's self taxable in the UK (and possibly nowhere else either) they may have secured a significantly higher price; conclusion they paid tax on what would have otherwise BEEN tax but which was paid to them instead.

Disingenuousness seems to be becoming a well practised art form.

Gareth Wilson

2:14 AM, 3rd January 2016, About 7 years ago

“Hats off to the chap. I mean, crikey, credit to the bloke for rising above all the abuse he gets from the public. Because my word they hate him. Really, really, really hate him. Hate his blasted slimey guts. Pity his stupendous unpopularity with voters will mean he could never win a Conservative leadership contest. Poor chap.”

Boris Johnson

Gareth Wilson

13:31 PM, 6th January 2016, About 7 years ago

George Osborne's own mortgage was paid by the UK taxpayer:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/dec/07/taxpayers-paid-george-osborne-paddock-mortgage

Oh look! An entirely new playing-field to level!

Chris Byways

17:51 PM, 6th January 2016, About 7 years ago

You couldn't make it up.

,
"In December 2005, Osborne remortgaged for £480,000, again on an interest-only basis. He increased the sum borrowed to cover, besides the initial purchase price of £445,000, both the initial purchase costs, and an additional £10,000 towards the cost of repairs to the property. These repairs, which he regarded as essential, included new windows, a new front door and a boiler."

I could have provided TEN decent homes for that, in Dudley or Hanley,

Gareth Wilson

18:14 PM, 6th January 2016, About 7 years ago

And as for David Gauke:

"Gauke claimed £10,248.32 in stamp duty and fees involved in the purchase of his second home in London, a flat. A Channel 4 Dispatches programme revealed that he was claiming expenses on the flat in central London despite having a property located only one hour away on public transport.

Gauke sold the flat in August 2012, keeping £27,000, the property price having increased by £67,000 since purchase. He paid nearly £40,000 of this to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) as MPs only have to pay back any profit made in the previous two years [4]

He told the UK public that negotiating a price discount with a tradesmen for paying in cash for the purposes of evading tax is morally wrong."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gauke

George Osborne and David Gauke really are made for one another aren't they?

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