Stamp duty

MQT on 2014-11-19
Session date: 
November 19, 2014
Question By: 
Gareth Bacon
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


In light of all the discussions regarding devolution to our northern cities, can the Mayor ensure that London will receive a fair deal and will at least be devolved the five property taxes?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Stamp duty

Answer for Stamp duty

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you very much, Gareth, and, yes, you are absolutely right.  I want your support for this.


When we make this case to Government about devolution, we should be talking not about the mayoralty or about councils or about politicians.  This is about people.  This is about London being able to build more homes for its people, being able to invest in transport and being able to do great things for people who are having a tough time in our city.  That is why we need stable and continuous financing.  It is not some arcane argument about sovereignty or who controls the money.  It is about actually being able to deliver and to be able to plan and to invest in the infrastructure the city needs and so I am very grateful for your report.


Gareth Bacon AM:  In turn, I am grateful for that answer, Mr Mayor.  The problem is that Greg Clark, the current Minister for Cities, has recently said that stamp duty was not on the table for London devolution talks.  Is that something that you accept and will you be continuing to make the case for London?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No.  As you know in every negotiation with Government I have a doctrine of unlimited negotiating capital and we go forward.  I do not think the position will be tenable in the long term and that there is a snowballing desire to see devolution to the great cities.  We are working, as you know, with all the other great cities of England to achieve this.  The Government is listening.  Greg [Clark] is very keen to help.  What he said is strictly accurate.  It is not on the agenda at the moment but that does not mean it will not be on the agenda and it is something that will inevitably have to be considered.


Gareth Bacon AM:  Two boroughs in London - Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea - together raise more in stamp duty than Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland put together.  If you are successful in getting this on to the table and the GLA does take a portion of stamp duty revenues, will you fight to ensure that those two London boroughs also receive a fair deal on that?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  We have to be careful with this because the Treasury does regard stamp duty as being a fantastic cash cow and it is only human of them to want to keep it.  We can show that there is no loss to the Treasury and that we can do a deal with them so that we shared some of the upside if stamp duty receipts go up.  If there was a compromise and the boroughs and the GLA shared the proceeds of growth with the Treasury.  There is no reason for them to be paranoid about this.  This is something that can work well for Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Exchequer.  It will mean more money all round in tax yield because it will mean more growth and better housing and more employment.


Gareth Bacon AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Finally, in our final 18 months in this building and indeed when you move down the road to the more attractive building, can you fight to ensure that any nonsensical and economically illiterate proposals such as a mansion tax never see the light of day?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I thought it was a wonderful session the other night with Myleene Klass whipping the ass of the Labour Leader.  I thought that was absolutely superb.  It is interesting that of all the Labour would-be Mayors, they have all distanced themselves from that.  Tessa [Tessa Jowell MP] has, Sadiq [Sadiq Khan MP] has, Lammy [David Lammy MP]  [prospective Labour candidates for Mayor of London] has. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Sadiq is behind it, is he?  OK, so Tess and Lammy.  Sadiq is pro this ageist tax on London, but we do not know what the position of the Labour Group on the Assembly is.


Len Duvall AM:  We have run out of time.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  They have conveniently run out of time.  Len says he has run out of time.  Normally all too easy to interject, all too eager.  They have run out of time.  There they are luxuriating in their mansions.  Look at them, unwilling.