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The LVTC blog, by Henry Law

The comments in the LVTC Blog are a personal view of our Hon. Secretary Henry Law and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Campaign.

This is a place for personal observations and comments on politics, economics, current affairs, on-going discussions on the potential for LVT to remedy some of the current ills, and the impact on Society of any of the above. 

Please read and enjoy, and feel free to respond to Henry if you have any thing you would like to add.

Crossrail bonanza for landowners

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Crossrail could help create £5.5 billion in added value to residential and commercial real estate along its route between 2012 and 2021 according to new research for Crossrail by GVA, the UK's largest independent commercial property consultant.

According to the Crossrail web site, "The report illustrates how Crossrail will have a marked impact on a number of central London and suburban locations along and around the Crossrail route where the new railway will help stimulate investment in commercial activities, retail and housing. The report findings unveil which areas these are, and what the scale of those changes is likely to be."

Murphy misses point yet again

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Anti-tax avoidance campaigner Richard Murphy has got the American coffee chain Starbucks in his sights this time. But as usual he does not tell the whole story and nor does he draw the obvious conclusions - shift taxes onto fixed property. Why can't Murphy see this? Is he serious?

Strange times

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The times get stranger. I received an email yesterday from Vince Cable asking me to campaign for fairer taxes and to sign an on-line petition for his pet project, the Mansion Tax, now suggested for properties valued at £2 million or more. Cable claims it is impossible to avoid. I could think of a couple of ways off the top of my head. I am sure a lot of people could think of more if they put their minds to it. The odd things are that this idea was knocked down on practical grounds almost as soon as it was put forward, which must be getting on for two years ago, and that Cable knows about LVT - he is, after all, a patron of ALTER, the LibDem group which exists to promote LVT within the party.

Today there is an article in the Guardian, "How American and British workers can fight for a fairer economic system" referring to a campaign originating in the US, called Prosperity for All and again asking people to sign an on-line petition. The campaign web site explains that "The largest labor, community and advocacy groups in the country agree that prosperity economics is the best way to rebuild and restore America."

Is the cycle turning?

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This article here discusses the US housing market and suggests that the upswing is just beginning there. Meanwhile, in the UK, housebuilding firm Bovis has doubled its interim dividend as profits jump and reports that it has taken advantage of the depressed land prices since 2008 to embark on an agressive round of land purchase. This seems to be all in accordance with the theory from which land value taxation emerges as a prerequisite for a solution to the cyclic problems that have been a feature of most economies for the past two centuries.

Unthinking concern

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Concern about economic injustice needs to be tempered with a sound understanding of the causes. If it is not, you get proposals for nonsensical ideas such as global wealth taxes, currently the subject of a petition under the umbrella of

How would a global wealth tax work? Who would get the revenue? How would wealth even be defined? Would it include, for example, jewellery in bedside tables, first edition books still in their original dust jackets, lying forgotten in boxes, or pedigree horses? How would this wealth be valued? How would the authorities make sure it was paid? ought to exercise better judgement about the causes they support and people with a social conscience should engage their brains before going public with stupid suggestions. One might also question the value of online petitions. How many of the signatures belong to fictitious characters?


Property boosts UK net worth to £6.8 trillion

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Britain's property market has boosted the nation's wealth to £6.8 trillion, despite a global financial crisis which has weighed heavily on the UK economy. Net worth rose 3.3pc in 2011 according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, with property now worth more than £4 trillion. Read the article in the Daily Telegraph. It is complete nonsense of course but illustrates the dangerous hold that home-ownerism has on the nation's psyche. You might like to join in the chorus of encouragingly scornful comment

Back to business - and LVT good for landowners

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Not quite. But the Olympics and the holiday season have squeezed out most news about politics and economics. The troubles with the Euro continue to bubble away in the background, with periodic announcements that it has been "saved". These have led to short bursts of confidence until the markets have, on reflection, realised that the problems remain unresolved. And so they will. The Euro never was a viable project in the long term. The conditions for a shared currency were never going to be acceptable amongst a group of countries with diverse economies and traditions. Even if they had, the same problems of regional imbalance that affect countries internally would have developed and persisted on a larger scale within the single currency zone.

In the meantime, the argument about LVT seems to be perking up, what with Caroline Lucas's Parliamentary Bill and the tendency for just about every subject under the sun to be discussed on the internet. One of the things that surprises us is the amount of opposition to LVT from the "left". Someone under the name of "The Logical Conclusion" writes

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