Mr Redwood’s contribution to the debate on the Finance Bill, 1 July

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): The hon. Gentleman wishes to pay for a 10p rate from the proceeds of a mansion tax. Will he advise the House of Labour’s definition of a mansion? Could it, for example, include an one or two-bedroom flat in central London that was lived in by people of rather modest means?

The Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr Chris Leslie): I think the right hon. Gentleman is thinking of the bedroom tax, and we can come to that in a moment. I will come to the details of what a mansion tax would look like. We have looked carefully at the well-crafted and evidently well-thought-through proposal from the Liberal Democrats. They have proposed that properties worth ÂŁ2 million or more should attract an annual charge, saying that that could net approximately ÂŁ2 billion. That would allow an income tax band of around ÂŁ1,000, which would give a tax cut of about ÂŁ100 to those benefiting from the 10p band
Mr Redwood: I wish to make a procedural point. Does not the shadow Minister accept that when a Minister asks his officials for some information and they research it, and he then comes to the House to impart that information to us, that is publishing the information? I know that that will come as a shock to a Labour shadow Minister, because Labour Ministers always made sure that somebody else was told rather than Parliament, but I rather like the fact that the Minister researches this, takes us seriously and tells us the answer. Why cannot we now work from the published answer?

Mr Chris Leslie: Obviously I believe every word that the Exchequer Secretary utters, because it would be unparliamentary to do otherwise, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I am asking for just a little bit more from him. I just want to see the detail that the Treasury has produced on the mansion tax proposition. It would be entirely possible for him to put that in the public domain. I am sure that even Liberal Democrats would like to see it and would find it of interest, as would other hon. Members.