John McDonnell Demands Oligarch Tax
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has called for a new levy on foreign owned properties, to hit Russian oligarchs where it hurts.
The proposal, included in Labour’s 2017 Manifesto, would see a levy imposed on properties owned by firms based in tax havens. Many other countries have a foreign owned property tax, but McDonnell’s plan is specifically aimed at firms that profit off black market money rather than foreign ownership in general.
These firms are used by many foreign billionaires who have come to regard the British property market as a convenient piggy bank for ‘suspicious wealth’. It is estimated that the tax would raise almost £900 million in revenue.
The proposal comes off the back of an interview by Boris Johnson by Andrew Marr, where the foreign secretary admitted that the Conservative Party received £160,000 from the wife of a former Putin minister. A further £30,000 was paid by the same woman to have dinner with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. It is alleged that the Conservatives have received over £3 million in donations by Russian oligarchs since 2010.
Discussing the proposal, McDonnell said:
“We need to see less empty rhetoric from leading Tories competing for the leadership of their party, and more action from the top of government to strengthen any financial sanctions we impose on Russia.
“If we want to really take the fight to the gangster politicians and Russian elites hiding their money in the UK, then we need serious measures like the ‘Oligarch Levy’, which will hit them where it hurts – in their wallets.
“It’s time to call an end to the use of our financial system and property market as a hiding place for rich foreign oligarchs and their money men by implementing measures like full transparency for tax havens and our levy on secret offshore property purchases.
“The next Labour government will take a sledge hammer to money laundering and tax avoidance, and call an end to the exploitation of our financial system and property markets by the global elites.”