Coats, Cahill and LVT

Chapter 7 chapter7 at
Thu Dec 9 01:40:54 GMT 2004

What the 70 per cent own is, in terms of its value, about 2 per cent land ,
about 48 percent bricks and mortar, and about 50 per cent planning
permission ‹ and it is the planning permission they pay heavily for, (until
they have paid off their mortgage when they can then proceed to make
somebody else pay through the nose for it).

The Land Tax arguments are confused by the fact that most of the value of
most properties lies in the permitted and actual use, rather than in the
land itself ‹ if you want to capture that value and tax it, then  it is a
development tax, not a land tax that you are looking at.

Development taxes have their points, but when used in the past in the UK
they were abandoned because they discouraged development ‹ while,
ironically, one of the objects of Henry George's land tax was to encourage

I haven't quite got my head round all this yet, but as far as I can see,  a
main flaw in Land Value Taxation, is that it isn't really  a land tax at
all, but an "improvement" or development tax, because that is where the
value is. This might have been OK back in the days when there was no such
thing as planning permission, and land could be assessed as being worth a
given amount according to its productivity, proximity to town centres and
railroads etc. Applying a tax on undeveloped land in George's day would have
provided an incentive for it to be used to its full development potential.

But nowadays most land derives most of its value from planning permission,
something which is accorded by the state.  If you tax planning permission,
then you discourage development, and you will get less homes, not more.
That's why levies are currently obtained through negotiations about 106
agreements, rather than a blanket tax.

 If on the other hand you tax allocated land which hasn't got permission,
then you tax people who have been refused planning permission, which is
blatantly unfair because it is the state which grants pp and exacts the tax,
thus giving the state an incentive for refusing planning permission.

Personally, I'm not wild about improvement taxes and development taxes. I
tend to prefer resources taxes which tax people for using more than their
fair of the earths resources ‹ and that includes land, petrol etc but not
"improvement", or planning permission. Resource taxes discourage
unsustainable development, but they don't discourage sustainable



> From: Jock Coats <jock.coats at>
> Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 08:42:37 +0000
> To: diggers350 at
> Subject: Re: [diggers350] Land party for affordable housing
> Hmmm - I'm not sure this is the case.  I for one never forget that as a
> non-home owner I am in the minority, and of course am seeking ways to
> join that majority in some form or another (well - one aspect of it -
> security of tenure).  A big part of the various land campaigns is
> focussed on trying to prove that those who are in the 70% already (well
> the 95% of that 70% who participate in the ownership of three or four
> per cent of the land in the country) would be better off under LVT than
> under an income taxation regime while those who own more would pay
> more.  And I suppose part of that persuasion is trying to persuade them
> of the "fact" (to my mind) that they don't in fact actually own what
> they think they own - that there are so many conditions on home
> ownership that it effectively means that it is a different form of
> ownership from all others (like Churchill said).
> Those who have their nice homes, however small, are also often those
> who would rather not see any more - like the green belt defenders of
> Oxfordshire who want to have their cake and ensure that nobody else has
> a bite anywhere near them.  LVT can be used as a vehicle to make
> existing land use more efficient and less likely to swallow up virgin
> land for housing - and there's some success in persuading people that
> ideas like LVT are better than urban sprawl for example.
> Jock
> On 6 Dec 2004, at 08:22, Globalnet mail uk wrote:
>> Jock,
>> The reason you, the Greens, ALTER, and the Land reform Group are
>> beating
>> your heads against a brick wall at the moment is because your first
>> assumption is wrong; that very few people participate in land
>> ownership in
>> the UK. 70% of us have a stake in land through our home. So many
>> proposals
>> would change that situation that if you dont take it into account, and
>> most
>> dont, you will simply fail to even be heard. Its the biggest interest
>> group
>> in the UK, and all the LVT etc, etc, try and pretend it isnt there.
>> It's
>> there, you start with it, and that way you may get somehwere.
>> Kevin Cahill
> --
> J1e Morrell Hall, OXFORD, OX3 0BP, United Kingdom
> T: +44 1865 485019 F: +44 845 1275714 M: +44 7769 695767
> Diggers350 - an e-mail discussion/information-share list for campaigners
> involved with THE LAND IS OURS landrights network (based in the UK ..web ref.
> The list was originally concerned with the 350th
> anniversary of The Diggers (& still is concerned with their history). The
> Diggers appeared at the end of the English Civil war with a mission to make
> the earth 'a common treasury for all'. In the spring of 1999 there were
> celebrations to remember the Diggers vision and their contribution. Find out
> more about the Diggers and see illustrations at:
> Yahoo! Groups Links

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list