Dave & Tony discuss Land Value Tax

Tony Gosling tony at resourceforge.net
Thu Jul 1 15:04:03 BST 2004

The following's adiscussion between Dava and Tony on LVT.

Maybe we need a different system for urban and rural land - like the
different ownership rights for city and countryside they had in Biblical


> Many, many thanks for this thoughtful response Tony.
> Under your proposed system how do you decide who occupies land in Central
> London?
> Do you leave it in the ownership of the Duke of Westminster?
> The rental value of his land arises from community activity.
> Taxing this rental value shares the natural wealth of the earth (the
> surface
> of our planet) with all citizens.
> Taxing land values would encourage owners of idle empty sites in towns and
> cities to use their land.
> This would help avoid urban sprawl into the countryside.
> eg Near my restaurant in Brentford are 10 empty valuable sites.
> The owners have planning permission to build homes or work places.
> Kept idle they are of no value to the community but the owners can use
> them
> as collateral for bank loans which they can invest elsewhere, even abroad.
> Meanwhile we lose jobs and homes on these sites and other sites are made
> more expensive because of the shortage of land.
> John Prescott decides to build on green fields in Cambridge, Kent and
> Milton
> Keynes.
> These new towns need infrastructure provided: fresh water pipes, sewers,
> drains, tel cable, electricity, gas, roads etc.
> Eventually the Govt will expect someone like me to run a bus service. With
> most of these people commuting to London and other established town
> centres
> (many by car) the bus company will only run say one bus per hour, and
> maybe
> only 10 or 12 people will use it.
> Now if these homes are provided on only some of the empty sites used for
> land speculation in towns and cities then in Brentford we would have more
> affordable homes. Currently we have a 20 minute bus service on the Great
> West Road. With no new homes built on green fields in Cambridge the money
> for an hourly bus service could now pay for one extra bus per hour in
> Brentford. Not only would the new residents now have a 15 minute bus
> service
> - but so would all the existing residents also have a better bus service.
> This is how Land Value Tax benefits everyone.
> Ron Brown in his book "Double Cross" reckons that taking taxes off incomes
> and trade and replacing it with taxes on natural resources, would generate
> an extra £15,000 pa for each person (man, woman and child) in the country.
> This is not redistribution of existing wealth - but the creation of new
> wealth, just by changing the tax system. Imagine every family of four
> receiving a dividend from the Government of £60,000 and the Government
> still
> collecting as much income as today to pay for schools, hospitals etc.
> In these circumstances, the Govt could well afford not to tax small
> self-contained agricultural plots of land occupied and used by small
> groups
> or families.
> However, the large estates with huge mansions owned by the rich should
> still
> pay their land tax.
> In the same way, with cheaper land prices, local authorities could afford
> to
> create more parks in cities (like the GLC did in London) and more town
> farms
> (like the one in Feltham near Heathrow Airport, which I implemented when
> the
> Leader of Hounslow Council in the 1980s.
> Let's meet to discuss further.
> Dave
> Dave Wetzel
> Vice-chair,
> Transport for London
> Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street.
> London. SW1H 0TL. UK.
> Tel 020 7941 4200
> Close to New Scotland Yard.
> Buses 11,24,148,211,N11 pass the door.
> Nearest Underground - St James's Park tube station.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tony Gosling [mailto:tony at resourceforge.net]
> Sent: 30 June 2004 19:46
> To: Wetzel Dave
> Subject: Re: MODERATE -- davewetzel at tfl.gov.uk posted to diggers350
> Hi Dave,
> Can you send me the articles cos they got deleted by evil yahoo. I can
> post them. Meanwhile
> Can you address something for me?
> I want to know why we have to tax land, a basic essential? Such as bread,
> books, babies clothes and the like? I'm convinced that society can
> function quite happily on the revenues from luxuries - best collected
> through VAT. A genuinely progressive taxation system. Also international
> financial transactions - and taxing all the damaging activities of
> corporations.
> As you might know - this is where I think the Labour Land Campaign went
> wrong - Land is a free gift to mankind and should always be so. Taxing it
> hits the poor who don't want to make much money from their land and forces
> people to change what they do with their land to turn it into a money
> making concern. Its abusing the basic need we all have for somewhere to
> be. That right should be unassailable and sacred, if we tax someone for
> allowing his field to be a flower meadow for a few years it may break him
> financially.
> The best way to manage land is to give people security of tenure on it and
> remove any financial pressure to develop it - make them trusted
> custodians.
> Such a shame Atlee never nationalised land after WWII.
> LVT was used in Hong Hong and led to high-density almost animal cage style
> living conditions.
> The only reason so much tax and government is 'necessary' now is because
> of the militarisation of the economy and because the government's
> democratic legitimacy is being used to funnel interest payments to the
> banks. (which is a whole nother issue but equally important to deal with)
> btw. much respect for your stuff in the eighties. Some of us don't forget
> so easy.
> Tony Gosling
> The Land is Ours
> 0117 944 6219
> 07786 952037

Dave's LVT articles and sites:

I attach three articles written by me and published last year by Property
Week, EuroTransport and the Observer plus an unpublished item.

In addition items from estates Gazette and the FT.
As public activity adds considerable amounts to land values, I believe that
Land Value Tax would be a good method for recycling this value.

These are some websites on the subject:

This is HGF website: www.henrygeorgefoundation.org

Some American websites:

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