According to The Sunday Times, 44 per cent of its readers are broadly in favour of a wealth tax. Support fell with increasing income, but the most interesting finding is the survey’s failure to reflect the generally held view that we’re in favour of a wealth tax providing only those wealthier than we are actually have to pay it.
Still, the cynicism was there. Yup, tax the shares, second homes and stashed assets of the rich, but leave our houses out of it, said 89 per cent of the 2000 people asked. Those nine out of ten readers were not asked whether they had any other significant assets which might qualify as “wealth”, but unless it was a very odd sample, their wealth would have been overwhelmingly in what chancellors always call “the family home.”
This asset already has some protection from the impact of inheritance tax. It would be a brave chancellor who acknowledged that housing wealth was mostly luck, and that it was time that luck was shared with the less lucky. Well, not so much brave as politically suicidal, for him and his party.