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Labour’s hoping that taking on the non doms could be a narrative changer

April 8th, 2015

The first big policy development of the campaign

Today’s announcement by Miliband that if they win power they’d end the special tax status of non-doms is the first genuine policy surprise of the campaign and could be quite a tricky one for Cameron/Osborne to respond to.

For the perception that the blues are on the side of the rich and not “people like us” is very clear from the polling and is probably the Conservatives’ biggest negative. It also fits with the ongoing narrative on tax avoidance.

Patrick Wintour gives details of the plan in a front page splash in the Guardian.

“In a speech in Warwick on Wednesday, Miliband is expected to say the non-dom rule, believed to be used by more than 110,000 wealthy people in a system unique to the UK, is born of a discredited belief that “anything goes for those at the top and that what is good for the rich is always good for Britain”.

Non-doms pay UK income tax and capital gains tax on their UK sources of income and gains, and whatever income generated overseas they choose to remit to the UK. By contrast, UK domiciles have to pay tax on all of their income and gains, wherever in the world they are made – Britain or overseas.”

My guess is that the Tory response will say that driving the super rich out of the UK will be bad for the economy and could cost jobs. But they have to be careful because of the way the party is perceived.

Labour has been very keen to move on from the Scottish issues and the idea that they will be in the SNP’s pocket. I’m told that Labour canvassers are finding that the Tory message on this has been hitting home. Maybe non doms will move things on.

This could run for a few days which is what LAB wants. Osborne has to find a way of closing it down quickly.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble