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I met with Steve Brine MP on Friday morning, who had heard Section 24 mentioned several times in parliament, but wasn't aware of all the details. He said I was the first member of his constituency (Winchester and Chandler's Ford) to speak to him about this matter.
As he knew very little about this, he neither supported or opposed the Tenant Tax. I emailed a copy of 'The Compelling Case Against Section 24' in my initial email to his office, which he had read prior to our meeting, and we spent time discussing the contents, my thoughts as a landlord and him asking questions (a few as the devil's advocate), about the PRS and the Housing Sector in general.
Steve will write a summary of our meeting which will be addressed to Gavin Barwell MP and Philip Hammond PC MP. He would also be willing to attend the dinner and drinks reception for MP's at Westminster if his diary allows, once a date and time is confirmed.
When asked if he had any advice for the Tenant Tax Campaign, he suggested looking at the Equitable Life Campaign and the WASPI Campaign which have both been very active in recent years and made a big impact. As we all know, he said it's a numbers game, and the more people who are aware and support the campaign, the bigger the impact it will have.
I enjoyed our chat, it was very relaxed and informal and I would urge anyone who has not contacted their local MP yet, to do so.
Here is the link to the resources I used to contact my local MP, all provided by the Tenant Tax Team:
Find Your Local MP, eMail & PDF
I also received some further guidance from Steve Bolton to help me get the most out of the meeting, which really helped and thought it was worth sharing:
Some guidance for your meeting with your MP…
You need to determine fairly quickly in the meeting if they understand section 24. Many don't.
I opened with:
"So how much do you know about section 24, aka the Tenant Tax?"
Then let them speak to see what they say.
If you don't know already, you will determine fairly quickly if they support it, oppose it or take political a middle ground.
If they support section 24 then the bulk of the meeting will be spent providing the counter arguments. Take a printed copy of the document from the tenant tax website entitled the case against section 24. This is a great aid-memoir when talking to people who support the implementation of this ridiculous tax.
If however, you find you have a supportive MP, then here is our wish list in terms of best next steps...
1 - Ask if you write to them via email following the meeting, will he/she put in writing whatever they can in relation to their views that support our cause? If they say no, then ask if they would be prepared to do so in a personal capacity as opposed to a political capacity. Essentially don't take no for an answer. Keep pushing and maybe say "surely there must be something at least semi-supportive that you would be willing to say?" If you succeed with this, please post on our Facebook page what you sent to them and their reply.
2. Tell them that we will be hosting a dinner and drinks reception for MPs at Westminster in January. Would they be willing to attend? If yes, would they be willing to invite some other MPs who they also feel might be sympathetic or at least open minded to our cause?
3. Would they be willing to table the tenant tax with the Chancellor Philip Hammond and the most senior ministers at Treasury on your behalf? You are happy to provide a list of questions for discussion via email
4. Is there any other advice that they can give you regarding the tenant tax campaign and what else we could or should be doing to influence change and change opinions?
Well done for taking the initiative and visiting your MP.
We wish you the best of success and look forward to hearing about how it went afterwards.
Please contact your local MP if you haven't already done so, it was definitely worthwhile and it didn't take a lot of time to arrange. If you have any questions, please let me know and I will do my best to help. Thanks for reading!
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You have done so well and thank you for your efforts
My own feeling is most MPs are too busy to understand S24 The UK is going through major changes
S24 will only become a problem when LL see the Tax Bill in about a years time and then the penny will drop ? As you know the Tax Bill will rise until its full effect is in by 2021
There is great Apathy around S24 from large members of the population
who will be effected by the evil tax
Only yesterday I met another Landlord who has purchased a property next to mine and he knew nothing about S24 and he owns 6 properties' and yes he has a full time Job and yes he is a 40% tax payer a typical Landlord set up
I have advised he needs advice and he is astounded his Accountant has told him nothing
S24 has to be seen to fail before it will be changed but I am not holding my breath
Learn Change and Adapt ?????
Thanks DL. I agree, politicians are pre occupied with other things for S24 to stand out at the moment, and we all need to keep informing other landlords like you have done in order to spread the word.
The little things we do as a community will roll into something bigger if we keep going.
Well done Andy, and I add my thanks for your efforts.Let's hope that other landlords follow your fine example.
Thanks Vanessa! Yes, let's hope so. It really didn't take a lot of my time to arrange and the resources and advice (above) from the Tenant Tax Team was really helpful and made it easy for me.
Am I the only one surprised that, despite all the activity, here is an MP that has only just heard from a constituent about S24?
There are only 650 MPs and I am somewhat surprised that the 'tenant tax campaign' in its various guises hadn't got a constituent in front of every MP sooner
I know, I was also surprised. I have a feeling that this is one of those situations whereby the job doesn't get done because everyone thinks that everyone else is doing it.
We need every MP to be approached by at least 100 constituents to build momentum for Axe The Tenant Tax Campaign. Maybe we should arrange some kind of challenge: Have your photo taken with your local MP (or something).
I am so surprise as well.
So the MP said that ""had heard Section 24 mentioned several times in parliament, but wasn't aware of all the details"", meaning he heard S24 but he basically knew and understood nothing about...
LandLording is NOT a small sector in UK, S24 could have huge effect, dent the sector etc and MPs know nothing really about…scary, very scary to me!
These are the same MPs that would need to navigate us through Brexit…even more scary!!!
That's correct Lorenzo .... very scary!
I discovered from John Penrose MP that only myself and Ant Lyons had been in touch. Not that it did any good, I'm afraid. He failed to understand what was wrong with S24 in itself and concentrated on the penalties inherent in incorporating. We both had a forwarded letter yesterday from him with a boilerplate explanations of possible reliefs by Jane Ellison at the Treasury.
Whilst I commend the OP's approaching his MP in a bid to raise awareness of the effect on many LLs of S24 and the dedication to the cause from other posters I fear there is nothing that can be done to change it. Nor do I believe there is any interest by most of government to want to change it. Some individual landlords like the one referenced as being a 40% taxed, highly leveraged individual will be hit extremely hard and others on this board who are acutely aware of the pressure on their individual circumstance can see the effect down to the penny. BUT, on this one, the government is looking at a very macro view of the housing crisis in this country and IMHO will care little for those caught in the net.
From the recent comments by the housing minister it appears clear they are actively hoping the impact will be to make private LLs sell up and the effect will be to release more properties back to first time buyers and even more so if prices stabilize (or even fall in some areas) - how many young couples are going to think that's a bad thing!. Any reduction in rental stock will be filled by corporate LLs - and I don't mean a private LL who incorporates, I mean a pension fund or similar who will do a quick job of throwing up housing stock and raising standards.
My concern is that too many people are seeing the individual effect as the unintended consequence of a government policy designed to raise some more tax or stuff, whereas in reality the serious effect on highly leveraged private LLs is exactly the effect George Osborne planned. Too many upstart individuals were speculating on a rising market creating a bubble and threatening to destabilize the whole job if things went wrong - it could not be allowed to continue. Pleas for mercy from BTL mortgage slaves will fall on deaf ears as I think there are a lot more BTLs without mortgages than with. Sorry to sound so negative but I see no chance of any material change and its great for votes too!