Is the so-called “mansion tax” a workable proposal? The issue needs to be divested of the controversy Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has chosen to raise about the link between revenue raised (mainly in London and the Home Counties) and the number of nurses employed in Scottish hospitals (your report, 7 January).
For a start, it will take time to raise the revenue and train the nurses. It is very easy to raise unrealistic expectations based on a combination of class conflict and regional resentment.
It is much more difficult to outline how practical improvements in the National Health Service can actually be achieved. We need to ask who would actually be eligible to pay the tax on properties worth more than £2 million.
It may be that some of these properties are owned by large companies and used to accommodate senior staff; it may be that many are occupied by those who are asset-rich but income-poor –scarcely able on their current income to maintain a property they may have inherited.
It may be that many are occupied by people who through entrepreneurial flair and shrewd operation on the property market have acquired a property they have come to love.
Has sufficient research been done to determine on who the tax will fall and whether people will be able to meet the bill?
It is probably true that most property taxes are relatively easy to collect. But the political parties who support the “mansion tax” need to be certain that it will not be the exception.
Voters will quickly be disillusioned if a measure aimed at redistribution of wealth simply creates more problems for individuals and the tax authority.