Liberal Democrats calculate that some £750million is being lost every year in taxes when house purchases are hidden behind offshore companies.
One Hyde Park is arguably the most expensive,exclusive apartment block in the world. A penthouse sold for £136million. A one bedroom flat costs over £3.5m. Planning permission was granted for 86 apartments - now reduced a bit as some smaller ones have been put together. Some 60 have been sold. Not surprisingly it is hard to find the details. A significant number have been sold to overseas companies registered in Tax Havens. For example 25 apparently in the British Virgin Islands. Anyone remember Osborne's claim to be going after Tax Havens? What he has actually done in that regard us another story. Returning to One Hyde Park, only 9 are paying Council Tax. Westminster City Council is trying to find out who owns the rest. The developers say they are not responsible for registering people for council tax. It seems the only way is for council officials to do a door to door survey - if they can get past the 'Security' at the entrance to the block.
So what is the huge burden of Council Tax that these poor rich people are not paying?
This story gets even more sick. Council Tax valuations in Westminster ( and Blackpool) are as at 1991 prices when Band H (the highest) is more than £320000. Currently In Westminster about 96.5% of properties for sale are in G & H. The Council Tax which is being avoided on One Hyde Park is just £ 1375.24 per annum. In Blackpool, (which has the lowest average wage in England of just over £15000 p.a.), only about 10% of properties for sale are in G & H and the Council Tax charge on such properties is £ 3032 p.a.. Only those people in Blackpool living in a Band A,B,C, property pay what the Westminster millionaires pay i.e. £1375. One Nation? All in it together? Only in Tory fantasy land.