Thursday, 20 November 2014

Cameron Shows Just How Out Of Touch He Is

During Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron showed again just how removed he and the people of his class are from the reality of the vast majority of people. Besides the fact, that Cameron has shown over a long period that he cannot answer even the questions put to him by other parliamentarians, his performance has become that of the court jester, rather than a serious politician. Its just one indication of what contempt people like Cameron have for the democratic process, or for the electorate. But, the most telling comment was one of the usual throw away remarks he cast in the direction of Ed Miliband.

According to Cameron, in a clash, between Miliband and Myleene Klass, earlier in the week, “Klass wiped the floor with him”. How exactly had she done this? The clash occurred on a TV programme, where Klass had attacked Miliband for Labour's proposal to introduce a mansion tax, on properties priced over £2 million. According to Klass, and given that Cameron believes that she “wiped the floor” with Miliband, we must assume he agrees with these sentiments, in many parts of London, £2 million would be only enough to buy a property “like a garage”.

Now, I have myself pointed out just how ridiculously over priced properties are in London, but anyone who believes that the kind of property you can buy, even in London, with £2 million, is only “like a garage”, is telling you more about themselves, than they are telling you about the London property market. There is no case of a garage being sold, even in the most expensive parts of London, for £2 million. Having said that, there was a case of a garage, with planning permission, in Chelsea, selling recently for £550,000. 

The average price of a detached house in Greater London is £400,000, only a fifth of the £2 million threshold for the tax. Moreover, its estimated that, in the whole of the UK, the total number of properties that would fall within the £2 million limit comes to between 58,000 to 110,000 properties, out of the total 25 million properties in the UK. Put another way, it comes to around 0.5% of the total number of UK properties. If Myleene thinks that £2 million can only buy you what she would consider a garage, its quite clear what Klass perspective she is representing! That Cameron agrees with her, just confirms that he lives the life of a toff.

According to Klass, the tax would hit a load of grannies who have lived in these garage mansions for decades. Not true. According to a number of surveys, two-thirds of the people, who live in the affected properties, have lived there for less than ten years! But, even were it true that some of the people living in these mansions were grannies, who had lived there for years, so what? This is not some equivalent situation to say the bedroom tax, which Cameron is happy to inflict on poor people, and about which his Klass ally seems to be less concerned.

The bedroom tax is imposed on people who start with no money, and who are being taxed because the housing policies of successive governments over the last 30 years has failed to provide sufficient social housing, leaving a shortage of adequate provision. They are being taxed, because, even if they could manage with fewer bedrooms – and many can't for various reasons – councils simply have no smaller properties to move them to! Many of the people being penalised with the bedroom tax, are people who are suffering from the low wage economy created by Thatcher in the 1980's, and perpetuated by her heirs, that leaves millions of workers dependent upon in work benefits, like Housing Benefit, to make up the totally inadequate wages paid to them, by cheapskate employers.

But, those with £2 million properties are in no such position. Even in London, £2 million would buy you four average priced detached houses, thereby avoiding the need to pay the tax. Or just buy one of those properties, leaving you in the rather enviable position of having £1.6 million left over to spend as you like. How many people facing having to pay the bedroom tax would love to be in that position? In fact, in many parts of the country, the £400,000 for a detached house in London, would indeed buy you something approaching a mansion. Again, how many of those facing the bedroom tax would love to have the dilemma of whether to buy an average detached house in London, or a £400,000 mansion in Staffordshire? Again, it shows how removed Cameron and his Klass are from the lives of ordinary people.

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