Just over 60,000 people have signed an online petition urging MPs to reconsider the controversial buy to let mortgage interest tax relief change introduced by Chancellor George Osborne - a high figure but well short of the 100,000 required to force a debate.
The petition was launched after Osborne’s announcement last summer that buy to let landlords would receive only the basic rate of relief on mortgage interest, even if they were in fact higher rate tax payers. It was backed by the SayNoToGeorge campaign.
The petition quickly gathered 10,000 signatures - enough to oblige the government to submit a stock response justifying its policy - but 100,000 was required by the end of January to force a debate by MPs, even though this would not necessarily see any change to the proposal.
For the record, here is the wording of the petition:
Reverse the planned tax relief restriction on ‘individual’ landlords
We operate as sole traders and incur costs in the course of running our business. The planned restriction will unfairly target us by preventing us from offsetting costs in the same manner as other sole traders. We ask that the planned restriction be reconsidered as it has unfair implications.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has stated, in response to the Budget, individual landlords are already taxed more heavily than other homeowners.
The private rented sector is heavily reliant on individual landlords. The planned change is likely to result in higher rents due to landlords looking to offset higher tax liabilities.
In some cases, employed individuals own buy to let properties as investments for retirement. The planned restriction would adversely and unfairly affect them.