allotments in Canden Town

james armstrong james36armstrong at
Fri Aug 21 12:50:36 BST 2009

I want a banana, I want a banana,
Bring me back a banana sailor boy.
You can tell the captain,
You can tell the crew,
I don’t want a monkey or a kangaroo,
I want ….
First point
This popular ditty expressed the feeling of people deprived of bananas during WW2.
But, to my knowledge not many died of banana deprivation, we thrived on apple ingestation. Someone suggested the alternative to importing the fruit is homegrowing in greenhouses. Absurd scenarios are not helpful to debate.
  Some comments  Indigenous  tropical  farmers are reduced to wage slavery by two of the giant US fruit canners and importers, and UK apple growers need to get the state and the corporations off their backs.
Land tax was the largest revenue earner in England from  the Restoration  until 1789 when Pitt introduced the more efficient income tax to pay for the Napoleonic wars. 
LT  was (in)effectively a tax on assessed incomes from land, at between  20p and 40p in the pound . Another variation was county quotas collected inefficiently (31% of quota at the best in 1785.)  It was always a political hot potato to the unreformed  governments.
…( The English Land Tax, WR Ward)
Third, The law of unintended consequences applies.  e.g. If land was taxed, renting farmers would pay higher rents, and owner farmers would bear a higher tax burden than landowner non farmers.  Some renting farmers would go out of business, and perhaps the demand for land would fall relatively, leading to relatively cheaper land offsetting the rent plus tax increase, but fewer and bigger farms? And lower rent incomes and therefore lower LT returns?...  For  those house builders benefiting from landbanks, it is not clear. Would the basis of assessment  be the present low value use of the land even when cows still graze on land which has pp but which is not scheduled for development ( for sometimes ten years)? ( pp is usually renewable after it lapses)   Unintended consequences might lead to landowners withholding eligible available land for development – it happened in 1946 when the need for the land for  houses was  extreme.
Fourth   We already have a Land Tax - levied on agricultural land. It is called Single Farm Payment  It is a negative tax,  paid out to landowners and collected  (obliviously) mostly from non-landowning taxpayers who pay land tax  again as Council Tax. 
Fifth    There is for some a quasi religious belief that it is morally wrong to commodify  what is a natural resource.  
Finally  The Cure for what I call,  ‘ History’s Dead Hand Disease.’
“The Crown Land”  was snatched in the 900’s , “Duchy of Cornwall” land snaffled in 1300’s by Edward first, and the  biggest estates ‘bought’ privately from the torturer,  mass  murderer and tyrant Henry Vlll who stole title from the monasteries who had  in turn tithed  and enslaved working people -all this ages before non-landowners had the vote.  Taxing land owners – in land, not cash – is  the once and for all and up to date cure, the  “Dissolution of the Monetarist landowners.”  
‘Land Land Tax ‘ should  appeal  to all reformers –landtaxers and anti-taxers  since  this tax would, in a few years,  make itself automatically obsolete.    James, Dorchester.
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