Instead of taxing our labour – what we produce – why don’t we tax what we use? Instead of taxing the wealth that is earned, why don’t we tax the wealth that is unearned? I’m talking about land. Nobody made the land. Nature gave it to us. By building on it, or farming it, or mining it, you have improved it, but the land itself was always there. So let us look solely at the unimproved value of the land. This is easy to assess.
If you want the right to occupy a piece of land, and you want the government to protect your title to that land, then a rent should be paid to the community that reflects the value of that land, because it is the needs of the community which have given that land value. What I’m describing might sound extremely left wing, but the granddaddy of rightwing economists, Milton Friedman, described it as the, “least bad tax”: that is LVT – land value tax.
Not quite the needs of the community, but what the community around has done to its own land which improves the value of your. But yes, land value tax. Great.
Who would pay the most if we hand land value tax in the UK? The Queen (she owns most of it), the Duke of Buccleuch, the Duke of Atholl, Captain Alwyne Farquharson, pension funds, the Forestry Commission, the Ministry of Defence and, of course, the new Duke of Westminster – or rather the Grosvenor Trust, which owns the land.
Not really, no. Buccleuch, for example, owns mostly heather and scrub on the Borders. Worth 50 p an acre or summat. Don’t forget, this is a land value tax. Not an acreage tax.
It’s a myth that the “Queen” owns most of the UK. The Crown owns quite a bit, especially if you count everything between high and low tide, there’s quite a lot of that on an island.
But that is different from the “Crown Estate” which the Queen does own, in the Crown, which is completely different from the Queen’s private estate.
And the Crown Estate is hardly “most of the UK” – it’s less than 0.6% of the land area.
and you want the government to protect your title to that land
What if some people prefer they be allowed to protect their own land and the government stay the fuck out of it?
You’d really be happy if someone with a bigger gun or more people could just walk in and take your land?
What would stop the government saying that people can opt out of the protection if they want to, then send the army to take the land back?
These are lefties, so when then they talk about protecting your title they mean from
confiscationnationalisation by the State.
But I suspect you knew that.
We already have a bastardised version of Land Value Tax – Council Tax and Business Rates. I recall that those Scottish scrublands have recently been made liable for taxation where they used to be exempt.
as Craig Ferguson once said
“Here’s a poem about Scotland
There’s not very much to do
Then you declare yourself an independent country and set up your own government and pay taxes to yourself.
When people talk about the government “protecting land” they mean through the legal system. Yes, it could get physical if you need the police to remove someone who you don’t want on your land.
It’s all in Worstall’s original words – “if you want the government to protect __your title__ to that land”
All land in the territory of a country belongs (or should belong) to the citizens of that country equally. If you want to occupy some of that land for yourself to the exclusion of others, and you want to subscribe to a legal system that enforces your title, then it is only fair that you contribute an amount proportional to the site-only rental value of that land to the upkeep of that legal system and to compensate others for not being able to enjoy that land.
You’d really be happy if someone with a bigger gun or more people could just walk in and take your land?
I’m pretty sure we told out colonists this: we must be the ones protecting you or bigger, badder people will come and harm you.
We then told it to our own homeowners: we must be the ones protecting you because…well, because we don’t want you protecting yourselves. But c’mon, cough up, we’re providing you with a vital service, ungrateful oik.
“When people talk about the government “protecting land” they mean through the legal system. Yes, it could get physical if you need the police to remove someone who you don’t want on your land.”
The police most definitely won’t remove people you don’t want from your land, they will say (correctly) that its a civil matter and nothing to do with them.
In fact the State does nothing to protect private land possession, other than maintain the legal system, which people can use (at their own expense) to protect their property from trespassers. The only time the State gets involved is when police attend while private bailiffs are being used to ensure there is no breach of the peace.
If the LVTers are suggesting that in return for paying LVT property owners can call on the guns of the State to protect their property from anyone they don’t want on it, they should say so – I suspect the usual suspects might go a bit quiet on the idea of LVT if they thought it meant the police would be at the beck and call of landowners to evict whoever they chose from their land.
You’re building up quite a straw man there. Trespass just isn’t a major issue in most parts of the UK.
Besides, being able to call on the police to evict trespassers sounds like a reasonable quid-pro-quo in for paying LVT; existing rights of way excepted, of course.
Just a little pendantry. If there are existing rights of way, then there is no trespass.
Land is already subject to Council Tax, Business Rates, Empty Rates, VAT, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty, SDLT, Corporation Tax, CIL, Section 106, Travel Plan Contributions, Affordable Housing Contributions.
Is LVT going to be in addition to that lot?
So, the MoD should pay tax, eh? Yeah. That would work.
Yes, they should. As they do in fact. Military use of spectrum is paid for in the same way that telecoms firms pay for spectrum. OK, so it’s a paper shuffling exercise but it does concentrate minds on whether the military actually needs quite that much spectrum.
“the “Crown Estate” which the Queen does own”: no. The Crown Estate was passed to the govt in the time of George III. The govt then paid the monarch the Civil List, the arrangements for which have been altered and re-altered over the years, and eventually replaced in 2012 by the Sovereign Support Grant. WKPD summarises:
The Crown Estate is a statutory corporation, run on commercial lines by the Crown Estate Commissioners and generates revenue for HM Treasury every year (an income surplus of £210.7 million for the year ended 31 March 2010). This income is received by the Crown and given to the state as a result of the agreement reached in 1760 that has been renewed at the beginning of each subsequent reign.
“Nobody made the land.”
The Dutch might beg to differ.
Wikipedia? Sighs conspicuously at dearieme.
Check the Crown Estate themselves, in their “myth busting” section:
Yes, it goes on to say the that Crown Estate corporation, rather than HM, exercises the usual powers of an owner. But the Queen still owns it.
Dutch immigrants made a reasonable chunk up by me. Skinflats, just north of Grangemouth.
The Dutch didn’t make land – the locations were already there – they just changed the condition of it.
I’m not convinced it would do much for equality- sure it would redistribute wealth from those whose wealth is kept in the form of land to those who store their wealth otherwise, but the former group are not all rich and the latter aren’t particularly poor. Not forgetting that property is liable to sundry taxes anyway, and landowner’ s income is taxable now.
And I’ve always wondered how we find the “unimproved” value of land. Do we tax property on the south bank as though it was a tidal marsh? Do we tax land reclaimed from the sea as if it was still underwater? Perhaps we just tax a plot on the south bank as if it was a vacant site with the existing surroundings, that is at least calculable, but it leaves out the area wide improvement brought about by drainage.
My biggest problem with a LVT is that some human will be calculating it, and there will be little objective check as to whether he got his sums right.
“Trespass just isn’t a major issue in most parts of the UK.”
You obviously don’t own any land then.
Does land in a state of nature have any monetary value? Let’s ask the NT, who’ll be liable for quite a bit of this tax.
Rather, I think this is a Land Improvement Value Tax. Mayfair was a malarial swamp before the original Grosvenor married the girl who owned it and set about draining it.
Likewise, if you buy some land in Pinner or Downham Market you might pay extra because the land has a house on it, and a bit of lawn for the kiddies.
So we’re just back to taxing stuff that’s good, like investment.
“it goes on to say the that Crown Estate corporation, rather than HM, exercises the usual powers of an owner. But the Queen still owns it”.
Come off it: what the hell can “the Queen still owns it” mean? Can she sell it, mortgage it, gift it, leave it to whom she chooses? Can she build whatever she likes on it, subject only to the same planning permission laws as anyone else? Can she pocket the income, subject only to the same taxes faced by any other landowner?
Of course she fucking can’t. She no more owns it than fly in the air. You mustn’t confuse fiction peddled to the dim masses with fact.
A timely reminder that TW, is, for all the right-wing crowd- pleasing bullshit, sound on the important stuff.
I was waiting for you to turn up. Someone typing ‘LVT’ is like a dog whistle.
BiF, Pat, Tim’s excerpt includes the line that this is supposedly only about unimproved land value.
so yeah, can’t really see how you can set it high enough to trouble the Duke of Westminster without gutting the value of those Borderlands.
And if it’s improved value, how do you account for (govt) planning permission? Does my LVT go up because I’ve put an extension on my house, and is that a good thing? Also, the ‘needs of the community’ are way more complex than the author suggests.
What’s the improved value of, I dunno, the land on which ARM’s HQ stands, given the way the supply chains run around the world before actual kit arrives on the shelves at PC World 4 miles away?
And what about the incremental nature of an area’s value? Successful businesses drive gentrification which attracts more successful businesses, century after after century…
“Does my LVT go up because I’ve put an extension on my house, and is that a good thing?”
No, it would go up if you got planning permission to build an extension. Whether you built it would be irrelevant.
And yes, that would be a good thing.
50p an acre, cool, I’ll take 20 quids worth (the sum total of my wealth)
“No, it would go up if you got planning permission to build an extension. Whether you built it would be irrelevant.
And yes, that would be a good thing.”
And the LVT would go up even if you didn’t seek such planning permission, but all your neighbours did and succeeded.
Because the value of something isn’t assessed by the person who holds it and wants to use it in a particular individual way, but by the surrounding collective that covets it for collective purposes.
Because fascism. Well, fascism works OK (see, e.g. Singapore), but don’t give me any shit about liberty.
“…because it is the needs of the community which have given that land value.”
On this basis it seems reasonable that the title to land should not be inheritable. The needy community (which, after all, has given the land its value) should get it. The rellies can get market value (whatever the needy community deems…).
GB is a failed state for making housing (ultimately the land it stands on) extortionately expensive for its own citizens. Even those who do get houses have to pay so much on mortgages (and rents) that they have less to spend on goods and services provided by entrepreneurs and working people.
With LVT supported by the radical right and left and all shades of opinion in between ,it is very sad that LVT does not get a hearing in GB.
Quite, it ought to be called a location value tax, and if the present owner doesn’t value it as much as others then it’s rational for him to sell that land and buy somewhere he does value.
I am a fan of LVT, but the fact that tedious tool DBC Reed loves it so much does give me pause for thought.