[diggers350] Land tax: the most dreadful scheme since Domesday

Jock Coats jock.coats at oxfordshirecommunitylandtrusts.org.uk
Wed Aug 31 16:22:35 BST 2005

(Oops - I forgot to send this to the list!)

You do understand that the "Development Land Tax' as proposed by the 
government is NOT the Georgist land value tax that many of us propose?

I do not recognise your characterisation as applicable to "proper" land 
value tax.  Indeed I would take an opposite view - that taxing our 
incomes and our hard earned capital wealth is slavery and was the final 
victory of the feudal landowners - shifting the tax off them and their 
unearned land based wealth and onto the newly 'liberated' proles who 
ended up with nothing to tax but the money they could make with their 
own hands.

The whole point about "taxing what we all need to survive" is crucial.  
What we "all need to survive" is access to land, not ownership of land. 
  Less than half of us own anything, yet the rest of us survive, though 
in doing so frequently have to pay through the nose in rent to 
landlords who do nothing for their increasing wealth.  And a Georgist 
Land Tax, replacing taxation on all sorts of other things like income 
and capital investment returns, will redistribute from those who occupy 
more than they need in any given location to those whom they exclude by 
occupying too much in an area of high demand.

Let's be clear, I do not know any Land Value Tax campaigners who think 
that the Barker-Prescott Development Land Tax is a good idea.  Indeed 
its effects, unlike with a Georgist Land Value Tax, would be, I 
believe, counter-productive in a whole plethora of ways.

Increasing density may be an appropriate response to need.  Oxford is 
half as dense as the greater London average for example.  The great 
debate at the moment is whether to slap hundreds of rows of new brick 
boxes onto green field sites or...well...not building them and doing 
nothing about the unmet need.

But with a Land Value Tax yes, higher densities would be encouraged by 
the tax system working hand in hand with the planning system (both of 
which we at least have a democratic input to, where we don't with the 
total private monopoly of land ownership we have at present, but so 
would moving economic activity to less expensive, less overheated areas 
(something that was very difficult in a leased territory of a few 
hundred square miles with a hostile communist northern neighbour).


On 31 Aug 2005, at 11:35, TLIO News wrote:

> Land Tax is slavery. It welds all landholders, including peasants, to a
> financial system which gradually devours their labour. It's like 
> putting
> VAT on children's clothes or bread, the meanest act taxing what we all 
> need
> to survive.
> Its also a method of taking land off individuals and putting it into 
> the
> hands of the profit-making industrial agriculture and forestry 
> businesses.
> Land Tax will force all landowners to produce the maximum from their 
> land
> to pay the tax, turning the earth into nothing more than the factory 
> floor
> of global capitalism. It assumes all land to be held from the state 
> not to
> us as individuals. And forcing housebuilders to increase building 
> density
> even further, just as in Hong Kong where land tax was trialed.
> Land tax, just like rent or fuel prices, will be intrioduced to the 
> public
> at a low rate, being jacked up to a higher rate as it becomes more 
> accepted.
> Make no mistake, this is a major move toward our enslavement by the 
> Money
> Masters of the Ruling Class.
> As Gerrard Winstanley the Digger said, in 'The Law of Freedom'.
> 'Money must not any longer be the great god that hedges in some and 
> hedges
> out others.'
> 'You have taken the people's money in taxes and free quarter whereby 
> they
> are made worse able to live than before the war.'
> 'The word of God is love, and when all thy actions are done in love to 
> the
> whole creation thou advances freedom, and freedom is Christ in you and
> Christ among you.' 'Bondage is Satan in you and Satan among you.'
> 'Everyone talks of freedom but there are few that act for freedom. The
> actors for freedom are oppressed by the talkers and verbal professors 
> of
> freedom.'
> 'The common people who have cast out the oppressor by their 
> representatives
> have not authorised any yet to give away their freedom.'
> 'Therefore England beware, William the Conqueror's army begins to 
> gather
> into head again and the old Norman prerogative law is the place of 
> their
> meeting, though their chief captain, Charles, be gone, yet his 
> colonels,
> lords of manors, his councillors and divines, which are our lawyers and
> priests, his inferior officers and soldiers, which are the freeholders 
> and
> landlords, all did steal away our land from us when they killed and
> murdered our fathers in that Norman conquest.'
> Also,
> Seems to me to be a convenient way of keeping house prices artificially
> high staving off the crash.
> I'm not interested in stopping debate about Land Tax but please, don't
> believe the hype.
> Tony Gosling
> At 09:34 PM 8/30/05, you wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article308976.ece
>> Land tax will target housebuilders' profits
>> By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
>> The Independent, 30 August 2005
>> The Government is to bring in a "housing land tax" to share some of 
>> the huge
>> windfall gains that are made when land is sold off for housebuilding.
>> The move, which may raise hundreds of millions of pounds, could be 
>> announced
>> by Gordon Brown in his pre-Budget report in November. A consultation 
>> exercise
>> would follow before a final decision on the level of the new tax is 
>> taken.
>> Individuals as well as developers could be hit by the tax, which 
>> would be
>> paid at the moment when planning permission is granted for housing. 
>> In an
>> attempt to stave off criticism that the plan would encourage building 
>> in the
>> green belt, there could be a lower rate of tax for land in brownfield 
>> sites.
>> Although the proposal could be controversial, the money raised would 
>> not be
>> retained by the Treasury but would be ploughed back into plans to 
>> revive
>> local communities by providing housing and improving services. Part 
>> of the
>> receipts could be earmarked for local authorities.
>> Planning approval for homes to be built can vastly increase the value 
>> of
>> land.
>> A study for the Government found that the value of farmland in the 
>> South-east
>> would increase from £9,122 to £2.7m per hectare when it could be used 
>> for
>> housing. In the North-east, the value would rise from £7,534 to £1.2m 
>> and in
>> the east Midlands from £7,450 to £1.8m.
>> The idea of imposing a tax on a landowner when planning permission is 
>> granted
>> was first mooted by Kate Barker, a member of the Bank of England's 
>> Monetary
>> Policy Committee, in a review of Britain's housing needs in March 
>> last year.
>> It has now won the support of Mr Brown and John Prescott, the Deputy 
>> Prime
>> Minister, who is responsible for housing and planning.
>> While ministers would normally be wary of imposing a new, highly 
>> visible tax,
>> they believe that the proposal can be justified on the grounds that 
>> part of
>> the big windfalls now being enjoyed by the private sector should be 
>> used to
>> finance the public services that new housing developments will need.
>>  Land is already subject to capital gains tax. Ms Barker argued in her
>> report
>> that the forms of development gains tax that had been tried in the 
>> past had
>> failed because they distorted behaviour and raised less money than 
>> expected.
>> Large landowners and speculators managed to avoid the tax but smaller
>> landowners were hit.
>> She said the proposed tax would have to be accompanied by transitional
>> measures to soften the blow for developers, with land sales contracts 
>> drawn
>> up before it was introduced and for those holding large amounts of 
>> land for
>> which planning permission has not yet been given.
>> But the plan will be opposed by the Tories, who warn that it would 
>> provide an
>> incentive for developers to build expensive executive homes in the 
>> green
>> belt.
>> Yesterday, the Tories accused Mr Prescott of breaking a pledge that a
>> revaluation of business rates would not raise any extra revenue after 
>> figures
>> showed companies were paying an extra £1.2bn a year in England.
>> Caroline Spelman, the shadow Local Government Secretary, said: " 
>> Business
>> rates, like council tax, are being used as a stealth tax.
>> "Thanks to John Prescott's rigged rates revaluation, local firms are 
>> being
>> taxed to the hilt, taking the average bill to £10,000 for the first 
>> time."
>> She warned that householders would be hit when a revaluation of 
>> council tax
>> took place.
>> - --
>> "We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
>> nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
>> for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
>> that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
>> righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
>> God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
>> (Edward Burroughs, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')
>> Paul's new book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
>> For details see http://www.fraw.org.uk/ebo/book.html
>> Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
>> 3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
>> tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
>> email - mobbsey at gn.apc.org
>> website - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mobbsey/index.html
>> Version: GnuPG v1.2.5 (GNU/Linux)
>> iD8DBQFDFMLpwRj1MJJ12hcRAj2hAKDHr86R2svn2RTM7YGlamdCIRxEgACeMu2S
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> campaigners involved with THE LAND IS OURS landrights network (based 
> in the UK ..web ref. www.thelandisours.org). 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: 
> http://www.bilderberg.org/diggers.htm
> Yahoo! Groups Links
Jock Coats
Corporate Information Systems, Computer Services,
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and at:
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Home: +44 1865 485019 Mobile: +44 7769 695767
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