Key think-tank paper calls for Land Value Tax

10:00 am - May 8th 2013

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A paper published today by the think-tank CLASS makes the case for a Land Value Tax in the UK to challenge the housing and debt crisis.

It is the first time a key think-tank has called for a LVT. The paper is authored by Andy Hull, a Labour councillor and a former senior research fellow at the IPPR think-tank.

The paper proposes that a Land Value Tax, targeted at unproductive wealth and speculation, could help deliver the house-building revolution – and the economic revival – our country desperately needs.

Author Andy Hull says that introducing a LVT would “take political courage”.

It will mean facing down vested interests, not least the big land-banking ‘developers’ who deliberately drip-feed properties onto the market, making large profits on small volumes of output, even though they have the land and the country desperately needs more homes.

It will take a manifesto commitment, a real mandate, and no doubt a battle in parliament. But, at least in some sense, this land is ours. And our tax system should reflect that fact.

The paper – ‘In Land Value: The Case for a Land Value Tax in the UK’ is available from here.

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) was established in 2012 by Unite the Union, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to act as a centre for left debate and discussion.

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Reader comments

A possibly sensible policy proposal spoiled by a dig at developers.

Developers “bank” land because land with planning permission, or likely to receive planning permission, is hard to come by.
Relax the planning rules and you solve the problem.
The land is the expensive bit (in the south anyway), not the house.
That that is not a politically attractive option is not the fault of the developers.

2. Thornavis

If a LVT is to work and I don’t believe it actually would, then it has to be a general tax, replacing most other forms of taxation, not one targeted at unproductive wealth and speculation, whatever they are.

” But, at least in some sense, this land is ours.”
Well in what sense exactly ? As vague statements go that one takes some beating. Just about sums up the intellectual worth of this idea.

“This land is ours”
By which they mean it belongs to the State. Anything you work and own belongs to them, you are now merely a tax income generating unit. To look after yourself is to deny the state income and you will treated accordingly. The state is your friend and carer. It will give you what it determines you need, in return all you must do is submit completely.

Welcome to the machine.

I hope this is a start towards the idea of a LVT becoming accepted by the Left.

It should be levied on all land except for that which lies under ordinary people’s homes

Am I an ordinary person? I’m not sure that this is quite an LVT as we know it…

6. Uncle Beelzebub

@ 5 Tim J

Am I an ordinary person?

No. If you have commented on Liberal Conspiracy you are definitely neither “ordinary” nor “normal”, and as such you would therefore be subject to LVT.

Hope this helps.

@ #5 Tim J and #6 Uncle Beelzebub
I *know* that I am extraordinary but I am not earning one-quarter of Bob Crowe’s salary. Of course, the local council owns his house so they will pay the tax for him. I bet there are similar loopholes devised for all the millionaires in the Shadow Cabinet

8. ludicrous pseudonym


I imagine Bob Crowe pays the required income tax, though. So what’s your point?

(if he didn’t the Mail would be kind enough to let us know, despite being owned by a tax-dodging scumbag itself)

@ #8 ludicrous pseudonym
Firstly Bob Crowe does not pay tax on the housing subsidy he receives because as a tenant of social housing he only pay 50% of the market rent. The required income tax thereon is zero so he doesn’t pay it.
On the other hand I get no subsidies and pay tax on all my income except the Winter Fuel payment.
My point is that this proposal is designed by a spin-doctor to sound good but is economically stupid with no consideration of ability to pay. If you read the CLASS website it is a levy of any owner of “Developable Land” which means anything outside the Green Belt and National Parks (not just land with planning permission), levied on the “value” of the land when developed so in some cases the levy will exceed the price for which the owner could sell the land.

10. Barry, Ipswich

So the notion appears to be: tax land that is suitable for development, so that the owners of this land are disposed to develop the land (presumably for housing) i.e. take your profits now as opposed to losing your asset.
Assuming that the owner of this land is motivated by profit the LVT must be at a level that (more or less) forces the land owner to sell or develop, in other words there would need to be a cost to the land owner as a consequence of hanging on to the land.
Surely, it would be the case that over time a tax charge would be built up against the undeveloped land such that at a point in time the land would be owned by the IR.
Would it not be simpler to just nationalise all land as there appears to no particulary good reason for treating the owners of land suitable for development any different to the owners of land not suitable for development why should agricultural land owners see land values increase without the same land value tax.
If the nationalisation of all land is what you want why not just say so.

11. Planeshift

” To look after yourself is to deny the state income and you will treated accordingly”

Utter Bollocks.

To look after yourself means the state saves a fortune through not having to pay for lengthy hospital stays and social services charges.

Most of the money the state gets in taxes is a result of people looking after themselves and holding down jobs/building businesses. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

@ #11 Planeshift
Your retort would be entirely justified, but I think you misunderstood what”Spider” is trying to say. If he/she looks after his/her children instead of sending them to a day nursery/boarding school, grows fruit and vegetables in his/her garden/allotment, uses first aid instead of A&E departments, fixes his/her own car/house instead of employing a garage/builder, cares for aged parent/disabled sibling/child he/she will be either denying tax to or be penalised by the state, or both. “Look after yourself” is NOT just eating five a day (were you aware that started as a marketing campaign by Californian farmers – probably the most subsidised business group on earth?).

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