Land Value Taxation Campaign

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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.


Public services have to be paid for somehow

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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?

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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

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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

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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
Read more...
 

Our Plan B

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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.
Read more...
 

Something murky from the past

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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.
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Welfare for the rich - again

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The government's announcement of guarantees for 95% mortgages for house purchase, suppported by both Prime Minister Cameron and Deputy Clegg, demonstrates either an absolute lack of understanding of the nature of the problem, or moral cowardice, or both.

The aim, we are told, is to "unstick the housing market", which has stagnated due to the banks' refusal to give mortgages larger than 80% of the value of the property they are lending on.

Fanny May in the UK

This sets the scene for a UK run of the Fannie Mae debacle. It will also pump up the housing bubble for a while. The government is doing the very thing it should not be doing.
Read more...
 


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