"Everyone is entitled to a stake in the nation's soil and bricks"

Mark mark at tlio.org.uk
Wed Jul 25 00:05:37 BST 2007

2 articles in today (Tuesday's) Guardian:  Ms Toynbee says: "To build 3m
homes by 2020, the government has to face down the small cartel of volume
developers. The construction industry cannot go on demanding they make a
gold-plated 22% profit on every house they build."

Informed analysis for the largely neoliberal Guardian (morelike Ms Toynbee
finally can't remain in denial about the bleeding obvious). Larry Elliot,
meanwhile, as usual, is spot on.

Interesting thread at the end of Polly Toynbee's article. I highlight one
comment at the foot of this message which I think sums the underlying
situation well.

60% of UK wealth is tied up in homes
In 1948 Britain was worth £551bn. The property boom has raised it to £6.5
by Larry Elliot


Everyone is entitled to a stake in the nation's soil and bricks
by Polly Toynbee


July 24, 2007 11:39 AM


Planning is not the whole story; property developers hold onto vast
landbanks, since it is in their interests to reduce the supply of land and
thereby support high prices. And although I'd agree that supply has more
chance of overtaking demand in the US, I'd also argue that the US bubble
burst, like every other in history, when fear overtook greed.


On taxing property fairly, I have long advocated a sliding council tax
scale. Own one house, pay one lot of CT. Own two, pay double. Own ten, pay
ten times. Thereby not stopping multiple ownership, but giving
proportionally more back if you take up more than your share of this type
of asset.

I have met numerous people in today's London who have stopped doing
productive work because they earn so much from their housing portfolio.
They are therefore adding no value to the economy, since housing is simply
a shift of resources from have nots to haves. I will find it hard not to
be malevolently happy if a crash leaves such people both poor and

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