Two years after he started talking about it, the Prime Minister’s upgrade program still seems remarkably light.

This week, MEPs from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said leveling risked becoming an “all-and-nothing policy”. The verdict came after the lack of detail in the recent big flagship policy speech prompted Labor to accuse Boris Johnson of serving an ’empty waffle’, while a Tory MP admitted leveling is a ambiguous phrase that “means whatever anyone wants them to do.” mean”.

What is clear is that, two years after Johnson started talking about it, there is still a political vacuum at the heart of the move upmarket.

It might be understandable if there was a dearth of interventions the Prime Minister could take on to achieve a more just Britain. However, there is no such shortage. Indeed, a policy that ticks all the boxes is being talked about more and more by MPs on both sides of the House.

This week, members of the Housing, Communities and Local Authorities Committee (HCLG) supported an overhaul of the housing tax, which they rightly described as “an increasingly regressive tax which penalizes inhabitants of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods “. Instead of the housing tax, the members of the select committee support a fairer system that would benefit voters in the so-called red wall and beyond. “The government should consider options for a broader reform of municipal taxes and corporate rates, including possibly replacing them with a proportional property tax,” their report said.

MPs’ concern over the council tax matches research showing residents of northern and Midlands constituencies clearly receive the worst deal under the current system. By supporting a proportional property tax, the 11 members of the committee are expressing their support for a fairer system that should be at the heart of any credible leveling program.

Research shows that across England around 76% of households would benefit from a proportional property tax set at a flat rate of 0.48% of a property’s value. Of the 44 so-called ‘red wall’ seats in England that the Tories won thanks to Labor in 2019, 97% of households would be better off thanks to politics, with an average saving of £ 660 per year.

The select committee report presents proportional property tax as a long-term option, but there is no reason why the policy cannot be introduced in the near future. A simple proportional property tax as designed by the Faireer Share campaign would be revenue neutral, maintaining the amount the government can spend on our services, while simultaneously reducing the bills of millions of people. Important safeguards would also be put in place to help the “rich in assets and poor in cash”, such as the ability to defer payments at notional interest rates until the point of sale.

While opponents of a proportional property tax point to practical problems, such as annual appraisals, work done by the International Property Tax Institute shows that there is no technical problem with reassessment. Right now, hundreds of jurisdictions are using some sort of automated valuation model to help their property tax systems.

As he searches for policies to anchor the leveling agenda, the prime minister doesn’t need to look far to see why the proportional property tax would do the job better than most. This week’s HCLG commission report comes after conservative Liberal group Bright Blue also recently backed an annual property tax that is proportional to the current value of homes. Conservative MP Kevin Holinrake said: “The introduction of a proportional property tax in the UK would be a great way for our party to demonstrate our commitment to take it to the next level and do something meaningful for the many. new ridings that we have won across the country “.

If leveling is not an all-and-nothing policy and is truly a serious political agenda, the Prime Minister could prove it tomorrow by putting proportional property tax at the heart of the agenda. In doing so, he would be implementing a policy that didn’t cost the Exchequer and has proven to provide real-world upgrade benefits to households across the country. As Johnson could put it himself, he would come up with a ‘ready-to-cook’ plan.

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