Land Value Taxation Campaign

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Blog

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.

Fur coat and no knickers

E-mail Print PDF
The government has now given the go-ahead to HS2 - £16 billion the high speed railway between London and Birmingham that will shave 20 minutes off the journey in 2026. For a further £16 billion, it is intended that it will reach Manchester in the 2030s. This is a shocking demonstration of the inability of Britain's decision makers to join up their thinking.

Having decided to invest this amount on public transport, it can not possibly be the best use of resources to devote it to this one project.

"Fur coat and no knickers" is the phrase that comes to mind. It is unlikely that the opposition will succeed in overturning the project at this stage. When there are so many more worthwhile rail improvements urgently needed all over the country, I find it sad that prestige trumps utility yet again.

It would help if there was an effective means of measuring the external value of infrastructure. The value of "time saved" is a poor yardstick. We would argue that a better measure would be the aggregate increase in land value that arises from the project.

Public services have to be paid for somehow

E-mail Print PDF
I was having a conversation recently with a neighbour who runs a small business and employs a couple of staff. I pointed out that she, as employer, actually pays the taxes, because the employees would be happy to work for whatever their take-home pay happens to be. I explained that for every  £1 a worker receives in take-home pay, the employer has to pay over 80p to the government. And that has to be passed on in prices. Thus, bus fares have to include an amount to cover the tax paid, nominally, by the driver. This is a subject that has been discussed several times before on this website.

She would not accept the point but neither could she answer it, so she fell back on the argument that public services have to be paid for. So it does not matter how the money is raised. Any means will do. This opens up interesting possibilities.

How about this idea? People could be rounded up at random and asked to pay money to the government, anything from, say, £25 to £1 million. The system would function as a kind of national lottery in reverse, with everyone participating. It would be perfectly fair, wouldn't it? After all, everyone would have the same chances and everyone benefits equally from public services.

Who can refute our arguments?

E-mail Print PDF
No one ever tries to refute our arguments about a land tax. Not seriously. Some people just agree, either because they do, or they don't want an argument. A few get bored when the subject is mentioned. Some don't want to know or say they can't get their heads round it. Some don't like the idea as they think it would hurt them.

The arguments are impossible to refute except by invoking things like millionaires living in shop doorways to avoid the tax, Google running its operation from a piece of rock in mid-Atlantic, the super-rich ruining the country as they flee, taking their money with them, developers putting up tower blocks in the middle of the countryside, all the food growing areas being concreted over, sky-high food prices. Not forgetting, of course the 95-year-old widow, living in the same 2-up-2-down terrace house that her long dead husband bought with his demob gratuity in 1946, worth well over a million, in an area which is now one of the most fashionable in town, even though it still has the same outside toilet as it had when the house was built in 1890.

After a while, I suppose, imagination runs out. There are more cogent arguments against land value on this site than are ever put up by the opposition.


Help George tackle Britain’s empty homes crisis

E-mail Print PDF
I received an email from George Clarke who is running a campaign to tackle Britain's empty homes crisis. Something that has been going on for decades cannot be called a "crisis", but he says that there are 350,000 empty homes, of which 85% are privately owned. He calls for
  1. A law change to give communities and individuals the power to turn abandoned properties in their local area into homes for people who need them.
  2. Access to low-cost loan funds for people who need financial help to get empty properties back into use.
"Many empty home owners would be happy to find occupants for their houses if only they had some help. It is important to find ways to help them get their houses back into use", he explains.

Why don't they just sell them?

How to pay for infrastructure

E-mail Print PDF
Channel Tunnel terminal, Cheriton

The government has just announced its infrastructure programme as a means of getting the economy going. We have advocated this ever since the economy started to go bad a few years ago. But... a scheme like the London Underground's Northern Line extension to Battersea ought to give rise to a land value uplift of several times what it will cost to build. This amounts to a gift to the landowners that will happen to benefit from the scheme. They have won in a lottery.

The way to pay for infrastructure is

Our Plan B

E-mail Print PDF
Now that the policies the Chancellor first thought to apply are failing to work as intended, he is adopting an incoherent collection of ad hoc measures. It is starting to look like a panic response. It is dangerous. We would not expect him to take steps to apply LVT as we would wish to see it. It is not in the Tory DNA. But the principles from which we are working would nevertheless point to a set of policies - none of them in the slightest bit radical - that would at least have a fair chance of getting things moving in the right direction.

Something murky from the past

E-mail Print PDF
If a land title is tracked back far enough, you will find a theft: enclosure of what was once common property. Or will you?

Some, however, would argue that if you track it back far enough, you will find land that was discovered for the first time and therefore had no owner. This line of reasoning will hold up well enough as long it is accepted that land is not common property and can be owned like any other resource. If, on the other hand, it is recognised that land, like air, is common property, the conclusion must be that land can never be owned.

There was a time when all the land of England was held - not, strictly speaking, owned - by the Sovereign on behalf of all the people. As a legal fact that is still the situation. It is less than ten years ago that the same still applied in Scotland.

But even if one were to accept the ownership right was acquired by first occupation, and do not go along with the doctrine that the land is Sovereign property, which in many countries of the world it is not, it remains that case today that contemporary land titles are derived from and maintained by the state.

Page 18 of 35

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site

EU Cookie Directive Plugin Information