‘He’s stolen the Lib Dems' most well-known policy, the mansion tax, so clearly he is trying to attract dissatisfied Liberal Democrats,’ Nick Williams, head of public affairs at Fleishman-Hillard, told PRWeek.
Miliband cast the tax cut as a restoration of the 10p rate abolished by Labour chancellor Gordon Brown in 2007 in his final Budget before becoming prime minister.
Williams, a former adviser to Labour before it got into power in 1997, added: ‘Miliband is desperate to get away from the Gordon Brown days in government and this allowed him to criticise Brown’s decision.’
However, Lionel Zetter, public affairs director at APCO, claimed Labour had ‘miscalculated’ with the announcement.
‘Borrowing policies from the Lib Dems might suit them in electoral terms but will make it look like they cannot come up with ideas of their own,’ he said.
Williams admitted that Miliband ‘has been slow to come up with policies that are going to resonate with the general public – Labour’s own polls have been showing that’.
The mansion tax is a pet idea of senior Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, but was rejected by his coalition partners. The vast majority of properties it would affect are in London and the South East.
‘The major implication of the mansion tax is for people in London,’ Williams said. ‘Thus the Labour Party last night tried to counter this by getting Ed Balls to write a major article in the Evening Standard to head any criticisms from London off.
‘London is a critical area for Labour if they are going to win the election and therefore they are sensitive to the fact that a lot of people could be impacted by this.’