tax land in land not in Pounds

james armstrong james36armstrong at
Wed Jun 16 22:04:04 BST 2010

Winston Churchill and Lloyd George were both liberals, I believe , when in 1909 they advocated taxing land.
Conditions were very different then.Now we need land for social housing . In 2004 Kate Barker the chief economist of the  Bank of England, advocated capturing 'planning gain' - as one of the recommendations of the  Barker Review of Housing Supply. 
It was kicked into the long grass.Taxing land would be so attractive to HMG that de-commodifying land would become even more remote.
The vision of many is of land as a common resource not a commodity and taxing and ownership seem to sully the concept.
 However I have just this week sent off a paper to Office of Fair Trading advocating fining giant plc housebuilders  who have vast landbanks of potential building land surplus to their imminent or present requirements. This hoarding is against the public interest which is for  houses now! (a backlog of supply of 1 million is the estimate and there was a landbank of 732,000 potential houses in 2002)
I have advocated fining (not taxing)  the landhoarders in land- not in pre windfall gains prices (legally possible under the Compulsory Purchase provisions of the T & C Planning Act) and selling the land as building plots to team self builder/ self occupiers. the land to be held  sine die, in community land trusts to ensure permanent affordability for the houses. One advantage is that self build costs the Treasury nil. and saves on the Housing Revenue Account which funds social housing. . The scheme would  also raise revenue from sales of confiscated land.James 
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