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Tabloid horror as UK think-tank suggests a Land Value Tax

The logic of a land value tax is inescapable when serious people examine the causes and remedies of booms and busts in the property market.  And just as inevitably the vested interests and unthinking classes marshal their forces to kill it.

The unthinking classes have a lot to lose if land reform fails again in Britain,  as they are the fall guys for the big landowners and property speculators.  It is not without fostering damaging myths and media management that the landed gentry, the descendants of the Norman invaders, still own more than 80% of the land in Britain.  Bad as we are in Ireland, we have a far more democratic spread of land and property ownership than our nearest neighbour.

Below is a perfect example of UK property owner turkeys demanding that the traditional Christmas dinner continues.  Hat-tip to Dave Wetzel for this story.


Friday August 7,2009
By Sarah O’Grady

Daily Express

A PLAN to scrap council tax in favour of a land levy was condemned last night as penalising hard-working middle-class families.

The Land Value Tax was proposed by Compass, a Left-wing think tank close to Gordon Brown’s inner circle.

It would raise even more than the £25.6billion a year currently taken by local authorities through council tax and would hit hardest those who have worked their way up the property ladder.

Owners of family homes on decent-size plots with a garden, a drive or a garage would be hit harder than those who live in smaller properties. And if the house is near good schools or public transport links, the land would be taxed even more.

Tory housing spokesman Grant Shapps described the idea as ­thoroughly unappealing.

“The Prime Minister’s favourite think-tank has come up with an idea which will disproportionately hit hard-pressed families who are aspirational and doing their best to get on,” he said.

“Why should they be penalised because they need a house with three or four bedrooms, or a garden or a driveway or a garage, all of which needs space? Annual re-assessments of the tax owed will worry cash-strapped mortgage payers. The plan is another attack on Middle England which this discredited Government is becoming known for.”

The report’s author Toby Lloyd said: “Social justice demands that the gains in land value be shared more equitably with the community than at present, and a tax system that could stabilise the housing market and reduce the chances of booms and busts is in everyone’s interest.

“With an annual Land Value Tax, all land would be taxed on the unimproved site value, which would be revalued for tax purposes annually. It’s important to be clear here – we are not talking about a tax on property values.

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