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Lionel Laurent

Theresa May’s Unconvincing Corbyn Imitation

Raising property taxes for foreign buyers won’t woo Labour voters, and could alienate her own supporters.

They disagree on more than just taxes.

They disagree on more than just taxes.

Photographer: Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe

Brexit-backing Boris Johnson wants to slash taxes on property purchases in Britain. A rival thinks they should be raised to target foreign buyers — not Jeremy Corbyn, but Prime Minister Theresa May. Neither pitch is convincing.

Johnson is wrong to think that cutting stamp duty will fix a housing market that years of cheap mortgages and subsidies have distorted to a point where few young people can afford to get on the property ladder. But even if May is right to concede that public opinion has shifted, her prescription risks looking tame next to Labour’s promises.