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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.

UK Pound tumbles against Zimbabwe Dollar

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The UK pound has not done well against most currencies, even including the shaky Euro, but who realises that for the past two months it has been tumbling down against the Zimbabwe Dollar? Should Osborne and Mervyn King be asking for advice from Harare?

Cognitive dissonance epidemic

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The shut-down of Britain by the recent snow falls has got the right-wing tabloids screaming about the poor response by central and local government. These are the same newspapers that would normally be screaming for tax cuts. Here is a case of cognitive dissonance.

Tax avoidance must be stamped out

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Two stories on the front page of the Daily Telegraph, Saturday December 18 attracted our attention. The story on the left was headed "MPs can't be trusted on expenses" and the adjacent story read "Taxman targets middle class" describing how 200 investigators will comb the country rooting out people who pay cash for services and rent out rooms without declaring the income. It is hoped to recover £12bn next year.

Quite right too! Anybody who deliberately avoids paying tax to the community should be found, shamed, prosecuted and made to pay their fair share of tax, perhaps with a hefty fine thrown in for good measure. There is far too much of this tax avoidance going on.

Of course, those who make unearned fortunes from speculating in land or pocketing what does not belong to them in the form of land rental value are allowed to keep their vast sums through a number of tax avoidance schemes or nom-dom status.

We can only hope that as soon as MPs are not occupied with their expense claims they will find the time to turn their attention to a fair method of raising public revenue - a method that does not take anything from anybody that they have created or produced and does not require an army of civil servants and investigators to collect.

What is a Prime Minister for?

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I raise the question because Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has gone off to Zurich with Prince William, second in line to the throne, and the football player David Beckham, to campaign for Britain to be selected as the venue for the World Cup in 2018.

I find this worrying on several counts. Why is it that British politicians want these events to be held in Britain? It is most definitely not the job of a prime minister, or, for that matter, a member of the Royal Family, to be abroad on this kind of mission. The prime minister has more important things to do. For the second in line to the throne to be involved is to demean the institution of the monarchy.

The entire realm of commercial competitive sport (which is most competitive sport these days), is dubious, intentionally tapping into primitive and atavistic emotions which, unsurprisingly, regularly erupt in drunkenness and violence. The later Roman leaders knew what they were doing. British politicians may be getting it wrong, as they seem to be in danger of forgetting that the circuses must be accompanied by the bread.

With the morning news full of talk on the subject, can we conclude that British politics is terminally degenerate? What hope is there of anything good from that quarter?

Cameron backs high speed railway

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Government support for the proposed high speed line from London to Birmingham and the north is hardening. This is unfortunate. The case is based on spurious arguments about the need to increase capacity. There is indeed a shortage of capacity at the London end of the West Coast Main Line - from about Rugby southwards, but this could be increased by upgrading existing routes and reinstating lines that were closed in the 1960s, and by running longer trains. The arguments against this obvious strategy are false. If the aim is to increase capacity, there are more cost-effective ways of doing it than building a high speed railway.

Government commentators are also talking about the value of a high speed railway in bridging the north-south divide. There is of course no guarantee that the line would have this effect. It could suck even more commercial activity into London and the South East. But the easiest way to bridge the north-south divide is through a differential tax system which places less of a burden on locations distant from the great centres of population. For example, by replacing existing taxes by a tax based on the rental value of land.


Joined-up government - not

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Any hope of joined-up government seems to be receding ever more quickly in the wake of a torrent of ill-thought-out policies. Last night I heard a story about a man with an ASBO who was called for a health test to try to get him off his benefits and into - what, exactly? The trouble is that attending the test will put him in breach of his ASBO as he is not allowed to be in that part of town where the health checks are done.

What chance is there of sensible legislation in any policy area?


Petition against the sale of Britain's forests

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Petition against the sale of Britain's forests.

If Britain had substantial LVT and a Right of Public Access, there would be little need to be concerned about this. But once land is sold off, the Private Keep Out signs quickly go up and in any case forestry land is a nice tax dodge.

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