Social Economy Alliance - New Manifesto Calls for Land Reform

Darren mail at
Fri Sep 12 00:04:56 BST 2014

The Social Enconomy Alliance (SEA) has relesead a new manifesto -
( a pdf document )

Founding partners of SEA are lsited as -

"Belu, Buzzbnk, CAN, Community Development Finance Association,
Co-operative Energy, Co-operatives UK, First Ark Group, Fusion
21, HCT Group, Impetus PEF, Locality, New Economics Foundation,
PM Training, Sandwell Community Caring Trust, School for Social
Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise UK, Supporters Direct, The Social
Investment Business, The Social Investment Forum, Turning Point,
Unity Trust Bank, The University of Northampton, UnLtd, The Welsh

Co-op Centre, The Young Foundation"

with the claim of another 435 other member oganisations.

Look beyond its scary front cover, the bust of Che Guevara superimposed 
with the stern face of Margeret Thatcher and propsals for the 
development of the social enterprise sector are laid out.

While there is obvious support from within the social enterprise sector 
a number of commentators suggest that the manifesto is largely promoting 
opening up more of the socail value contained in the publc sector to 
powers of the markets, with a few extra 'fluffy bits' added to make the 
whole manifesto a bit more attractive.

One of thoose "fluffy bits" are some suggestions about land reform.

"Pro-social ownership

Serious problems in our neighbourhoods and local economies are
a direct result of the way that land is owned and managed. ‘Land-
banking’ and the practice of leaving usable commercial and residential
properties empty are distorting the economy. More productive use of
land is key to tackling housing and infrastructure development, as well
as renewing our high streets and community assets. Genuine community
ownership can incentivise and encourage development, supporting
its popularity in communities and enabling citizens to participate and
engage in the development of local assets and infrastructure.
We propose:

A Royal Commission
on Land Reform with powers to propose how
land ownership and management in the UK could be more socially,
environmentally and economically productive. This is critically
important when the nation faces a housing crisis, as well as a blight of
empty commercial and residential properties in many areas.

A Beat the Blight Bill
government should create incentives for
landlords to use empty commercial property and land. Levies on
empty property would incentivise absentee landlords
and land bankers
to bring unused property back into productive use.
Local authorities
would be allowed not only to offer business rate discounts, but also to
levy surcharges on some business rate payers.

Community assets
new and existing infrastructure and utilities
should be opened up to community ownership, giving local
communities the chance to own a stake in, for example, renewable
energy projects. New energy, water, road and rail, supermarket,
garden city, regeneration and housing developments, should, at the
feasibility or planning stage, set thresholds for community ownership,
keeping asset ownership democratic, and profits reinvested in
communities and in the UK. This can be done through a Social Finance
Initiative, with a public interest asset lock, and the extension of a
Community Right to Buy."

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