Land Value Taxation Campaign

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Current Affairs Comment

Whither the Euro?

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Where is the Euro going? The coins and notes are nicely designed and it is convenient not to have to keep bags of different currencies when travelling abroad. That is of course trivial; the real benefit of the Euro is that trade within the Eurozone takes place without the burden of the cost of currency exchange and the associated risk of changes in exchange rates. Neverthless, we have always been sceptical about the long-term viability of a currency shared by many sovereign states. The ultimate question is who is responsible for issuing the currency?

Is this difficult to understand?

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The Irish Commission on Taxation thought that LVT was too difficult for people to understand. Most Irishmen I have ever met have had a good grasp of all the ins-and-outs of betting odds, so this sounds implausible. If anyone really doesn't understand, there is always this film from Taiwan.


Who will pay for Britain's high speed lines?

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The land values issue can crop up at almost any time in almost any context. An example that is coming to public attention concerns proposals for the construction of high speed railway lines in Britain. A government announcement is expected shortly. Does this herald a bright new future?

What Irish tax commission said about LVT

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The Republic of Ireland Commission on Taxation Report 2009, which runs to over 500 pages, has this little bit about LVT, buried in the discussion on property taxation in general. In doing so, they have has walked away from the opportunity to give the country a competitive advantage - which it desperately needs in view of its location at the margins of Europe. Like the English Lyons Committee, they say that LVT would bring benefits and then condemn it as too difficult, putting up objections that are mostly nonsensical. The claim that people could not understand land valuations is ridiculous. It is an insult to the intelligence of the Irish public, since the concept of LVT could be set out in a clearly written and illustrated A4 leaflet in a way that most people could grasp in as long as it took to read it. Everyone knows that a house in a popular area is worth more than an identical house in an unpopular one and that the difference is due to location. If further explanation was needed it could be backed up by a one minute animated video.

The report also asserts that the tax would be perceived as unfair, which is strange considering that people are perfectly happy to pay different prices for different seats in a cinema even though they are seeing the same film. Nor does it refer to the feature of LVT which has obvious popular appeal - that people are not penalised for having a garage extension, conservatory or loft conversion, which should stop the kind of objection that applies to existing property taxes - that they are a tax on improvements - a point that the newspapers are quick to mention. The Commission is talking nonsense (our italics) because it simply does not want to do it. The arguments for LVT in the Irish Republic are essentially the same as those set out in a submission the Campaign made in 2007 to a committee dealing with property taxation in Northern Ireland and a subsequent rejoinder to its final report.

The section from the Republic of Ireland new report dealing with LVT is reproduced in full below.

The Future of the Land Registry

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The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which recruits its membership from the civil service and government agencies, has produced this report on the future of the Land Registry. Whilst we do not necessarily endorse everything it says, it is a useful contribution to public debate.

Of course class still matters – it influences everything we do

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In today's Observer, veteran commentator Will Hutton discusses class in Britain. But as usual, he fails to mention the underlying reason for the entrenched class divide. Nobody really wants to talk about it. The rift goes back a long way, centuries, to the Norman Conquest and perhaps before that. There are those who own land and can live off rent, at no effort. There are the rest, who must pay rent and work for wages. Most business people are rent payers, which implies that the political divisions in the country do not reflect economic realities.

Who benefits from the CAP

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Who benefits from the EU's Common Agricultural Policy? It is not farmers, but regular followers of this site will know the answer. Landowners.

Wages and productivity

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One of our members was asked recently, "How come, when I produce so much more today, my wages never rise? I work ever longer hours, even my wife now has to work and the cost of living always rises. Who is getting the gain from my extra work? And where will it all end? When will I get a life?"

This is why: as productivity rises, earned incomes, in the form of wages and interest, fall in proportion to unearned incomes, in the form of rent. Nearly all the gain goes to rent as the return to private owners of land. One of our members provides a good explanation for the phenomenon on his blog site here

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