Finance (No. 2) Bill part one


Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie has criticised the government's plans to subsidise mortgages for homes worth up to £600,000 and urged ministers to back new taxes on the most valuable properties and on bank bonuses.

As MPs considered the measures in the Budget-enacting Finance Bill at committee stage on 17 April 2013, Mr Leslie called for a guarantee that the government's "Help to Buy" scheme, which enables purchasers to put down a 5% deposit, would not become a "spare home subsidy", helping wealthy people to buy second homes.

He argued that this would entail "the hard-pressed taxpayer subsidising an element of activity which really shouldn't be a priority for the taxpayer at this particular point in time".

But Treasury Minister Sajid Javid said those who wanted to buy a second home would not be eligible for the scheme.

The house-buyer would need a legal declaration from a solicitor to say the new property would be their only and main residence, he explained.

Mr Leslie also called on the chancellor to review the case for a "mansion tax" on properties worth more than £2m.

"Surely it is time that we helped lower and middle income households with an extra level of tax support directed from revenues raised from properties worth over £2m," he said.

But the Commons voted against Labour's move by 304 to 234, a government majority of 70.

Labour then argued that the government should also review the case for a tax on bankers' bonuses.

Mr Leslie said: "We are confident we could usefully use that revenue for the purposes of helping the young unemployed and want the government to do the same."

But Treasury Minister Greg Clark derided the plan, insisting that the government's tax on banks' balance sheets was more effective.

MPs defeated Labour again, by 294 votes to 234, a government majority of 60.

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