[diggers350] allotments in Camden Town? Difficult!

Simon Fairlie chapter7 at tlio.org.uk
Sun Aug 16 00:34:20 BST 2009

I'm afraid don't really  agree with you Heather. Subsidies are  
certainly one reason, but by no means the only one,  for the  
discrepancy between the rental price of land and the  buying price,  
particularly grazing land . Single Farm payment I think is now  about  
£50  per acre (and you have to have the entitlements to get it)  and  
rental value for mediocre grazing is about £50 -£70 per acre:  that's  
a total economic rent of about £120 per year. Price round here is  
about £5,500 per acre if you can afford 20 acres or more , and up to  
£10,000 if you buy in a smaller quantity. That means that even if you  
buy land at the lowest price it takes about 45 years before you see a  
return from it through conventional agriculture — ie a very poor  
investment, unless the capital value of the land rises further.

The second reason for the price hike in 2008 was the rise in the  
price of food, and consequent aggressive  interest from Irish, Dutch  
and other foreign buyers (though this was mainly for arable land, and  
has subsided). The price of arable "barley baron" land probably    
does reflect its agricultural rental value plus subsidies. Arable  
land in Suffolk, as far as I can tell,  is  cheaper than mediocre  
grazing in Somerset, even though you can produce more food and make  
more money from the arable.

The third reason for the high price of land, and in the West Country  
it is the main reason,  is the rise of what estate agents call  
"lifestyle buyers" ie rich b*****ds who have made their money in the  
city and who can afford to pay high prices for  land for  
horseyculture or very low level farming. That's why even though half  
our dairy farmers are going out of business (despite the subsidies),  
land prices are high.

Owners of large farms don't all get rich, many of them go bust.  
However those who go bust, when they sell up,  get millions for their  
land. Many  farmers make a pretty low  income, and sometimes a  
negative income,  but live off the increasing capital of their land,  
which enables them to take out loans to bolster up a business that  
otherwise would be unviable.

If we got rid of  subsidies and imposed a land tax, surely the result  
would be that farmers would find it even harder to compete against  
horsey people  and lifestyle buyers with city money  who could easily  
afford a tax that unsubsidized farmers would find crippling?  As a  
result, more of our food, would be imported.

If you want local food  in a global market, you have to support it,   
either through production subsidies, or (preferably) through tariffs  
on imports.


On 14 Aug 2009, at 14:10, Mark Barrett wrote:

> I agree with Heather though did not have such good language to
> describe the effect.
> All I will add to this is that is it proof that there is plenty of
> land available, to grow abundant food on, to feed everyone in the
> world, with room to spare. If only we would use it more wisely.
> What we hear from Hilary Benn recently is no more than further
> ignorance and stupidity forming policy. That we also hear Porrit and
> Attenborough also telling us there is not enough food and to grow it
> for the poor will make climate change worse worries me immensely. They
> are blaming the poor for the crimes of the idle wealthy. Us!
> Brgds Robin "Robin Smith" <robinsmith3 at googlemail.com>,
> 2009/8/14 Heather Wetzel <heather.wetzel at oisc.gov.uk>:
> > Hi Mark
> >
> > My views:
> >
> > The reason why the agricultural price of land is high is because  
> of the
> > subsidies the farmers get from the CAP.  Any subsidy or grant will
> > eventually increase the price of the land  - rent or freehold -  
> to include
> > the real value of the land plus the value of the subsidies.  That  
> is how
> > owners of large farms get rich and why so many tenants farmers  
> cannot
> > survive.
> >
> > If there was a land value tax and no subsidies for farmers, the  
> price of
> > land would fall and allow more farmers to buy or rent land for  
> farming.  The
> > price we pay for food is too low and current farming policies  
> encourage the
> > destruction of meadow land once the financial benefit of the subsidy
> > received for keeping land as meadow is lost to the financial  
> benefit they
> > receive for digging up this land for crops.  We need strong  
> farming policies
> > that will encourage organic and other environmentally friendly  
> forms of
> > farming, less waste and more local produce being sold locally  
> thus reducing
> > the stupidity of tomatoes being grown in one area to have to be  
> transported
> > market in another only to be transported back to the original  
> locality for
> > sale.
> >
> >
> > Subsidies benefit landowners not farmers or farming or the  
> environment.
> >
> > I will be interested to read the responses from others.
> >
> > cheers
> >
> > Heather
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Mark Barrett [mailto:marknbarrett at googlemail.com]
> > Sent: 14 August 2009 12:35
>  Subject: Re: Professional Land Reform Group - PLRG Research Sub- 
> Committee
> >
> > Hi all
> >
> > I'd like to learn how to give an LVT response to this thread -  
> any idea how?
> >
> > Mark
> 2009/8/13 Simon Fairlie <chapter7 at tlio.org.uk>
> The rental  income of £320 per acre  for allotments  is 3 or 4  
> times  the rent for decent quality  pasture which is £60 to £100  
> per acre.
> The problem is that an acre or two bought on it s own can cost  
> about £15,000 per acre. At this price it would take about 46 years  
> to get your money back from allotments, and about 180 years from  
> sheep.
> According to Adam Smith, in a heathy rural economy it should take  
> about 20  years to recoup the price of land by renting it out  
> (Wealth of Nations Book II Chapter 3). But even the normal  
> agricultural price of £5000 per acre for land sold in large lots is  
> about 60 times the annual agricultural rent. In other words buying  
> land  is unaffordable for farmers unless they have savings which  
> they are prepared invest unwisely.
> Simon
> On 12 Aug 2009, at 21:34, james armstrong wrote:
>> 1London is overpopulated with 25 million in the Thames tv  
>> catchment area and the only way to get allotments is to move to  
>> Dorchester .   The great wen housing and employment and crime and  
>> allotments problems are un solvable  on any other terms.
>> 2  After five years' graft, tonight we had runner beans, cabbage  
>> and potatoes  followed by rasperries all picked yesterday from our  
>> allotment.  Only the ice cream was bought.
>>  we have picked kilos of blackberries and bottles of elder  
>> flowers  for cordial.
>> 3 allotment rent is some #20 per annum, at 16 to the acre the  
>> income is about the same as
>> a farmer renting out a field  to a sheep raiser.
>> It is a serious consideration for  a group or individual to buy an  
>> acre or two and rent it out as diy 'allotments.'  its a good  
>> principle that people can do what governments cant and  
>> corporations wont.
>> james, Dorchester
>> Windows Live Messenger: Thanks for 10 great years-enjoy free winks  
>> and emoticons. Get Them Now
> -- 
> "We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is  
> there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.”

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