In Land Revenue
The case for a Land Value Tax in the UK
This paper argues that our current land economy does not serve us well. In response, it proposes a Land Value Tax for the UK. It does not dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ of the policy detail required to make a Land Value Tax a reality. But it does hope to rekindle discussion of an age-old idea lent renewed currency by these straitened and unequal times.
A Land Value Tax, targeted at unproductive wealth and speculation, could help deliver the house-building revolution – and the economic revival – our country desperately needs. It would incentivise those who trade and sit on empty land to develop it for the common good. It would mean that the costs and proceeds of investment were more fairly shared. And it would be impossible to evade.
It should be levied on all land except for that which lies under ordinary people’s homes. Very wealthy homeowners should pay, but those with limited incomes could defer payment where required. For it to work, all land ownership would have to be declared.
The valuation process might not be straightforward, but as a country we have done it before, and it is done elsewhere in the world. Existing systems used for current taxes could be built upon. The value of land for taxation purposes should be based upon its optimum permitted use, so farmers would not be badly hit, while landowners sitting on developable land could build it out or cough up.
The Land Value Tax could replace Business Rates and do away with Stamp Duty. And while it should become part of the local taxation system, its design should be informed by the lessons of equivalent fiscal arrangements around the globe.
In the end though, the proposition is simple. The few who own this land of ours should not get off tax-free while too many people cannot afford a decent home.