UK

BBC Daily Politics: Owen Jones Has A Simple Solution To The Housing Crisis

03/11/2015 14:21 GMT | Updated 04/11/2015 08:59 GMT

Owen Jones has gone head to head with Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees Mogg in a fiery debate over the housing crisis, during Tuesday's episode of BBC Two's Daily Politics.

Guardian columnist and political commentator Jones, somewhat strayed from the question by presenter Jo Coburn: "Why is it bad economics to charge people buying houses over two million pounds higher rate Stamp Duty?"

He instead offered up a simple solution to the housing crisis and Stamp Duty as a whole, attacking Mogg's party for its "failures" in building houses so far.

"I actually just don’t like Stamp Duty as a tax. I’d get rid of it and i’d replace Council Tax - which is a very regressive tax, bad for middle income and low income people in this country - and Stamp Duty with a land value tax," he began.

"Instead what we should do is tax the value of the land. It’s a very old idea, it goes back to that well known leftie the economist Adam Smith.

"In countries like Denmark and Hong Kong, they operate this. Pennsylvania in America, we could go on. I think that’s a better system.

Jones then continued to offer his opinion on the housing crisis, moving on from Stamp Duty and Council Tax: "What is unfair at the moment is if you’re rich and you happen to live in an area which is very desirable, you will accrue a huge amount of wealth, not for your own efforts, because you’re living in a very desirable area.

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"Whilst if you’re a private renter, which there are now 11 million, your rents are being hiked up. If you want a council house, you’re languishing on a social housing waiting list, five million in that position now. The whole housing crisis, we need to build council housing, regulate the private renting sector, and when it comes to home ownership under this government, it’s fallen.

Jones then directed his comments towards Mogg: "I mean there’s a quarter of a million fewer home-owners in England and Wales since your government came into power, it peaked over a decade ago, so it’s failed, in terms of promoting home ownership and I think we can promote home ownership, build council housing and regulate the private renting sector, none of which this government is doing."

Jones was responding to Mogg's initial response to the question, of which the MP addressed the economic positives for having a lower rate of Stamp Duty.

"It’s actually reducing revenue for the government, taxes should be set to raise money for the government to afford to do what it needs to do. If you set rates that are so high, that you don’t get that revenue, that is unwise," Mogg began.

"But on top of that you're also reducing the flexibility of the market. You want markets to have transactions, you want people to be able to move. You actually want foreign billionaires to think it’s a good idea to buy property in London because they come here and spend money and we earn a huge amount of invisible earnings from the spending of foreigners in the United Kingdom.

"So you make it harder for people to buy properties, you discourage high-end transactions, you have an effect down the pyramid and you get less tax revenue for it," he said.