Land Value Tax: an end to the landlord’s game?

 

Given journalists’ love of a good pun, launching a Land Value Tax proposal from a ferry might have been tempting fate.

Luckily, there appear to have been too many gaffes elsewhere for anyone to pick up on this little detail. While Iain Gray hiding in the back of a sandwich shop was undoubtedly the most bizarre incident this week, it wasn’t the most serious. If this election is about the economy, then Labour, SNP and the Lib Dems all took a hit this week.

Land Value Tax (LVT) is our proposed replacement for both Council Tax and Uniform Business Rates and it exemplifies the Green alternative to our current economic muddle – raising revenue but doing so in as progressive a manner possible.

LVT, as you would imagine, is a tax on the land, rather than on properties. Really, there is no purpose in me explaining it here, as I would only be poorly replicating the more eloquent writings here. What is worth noting is the economic benefit to the majority of households. Council Tax is well known to be a grotesquely un-progressive method of taxation – the SNP (and belatedly Labour) offer to freeze rates is tacit ackowledgement of this, but it is not a solution. At the levels we are suggesting, LVT would lead to savings for over 85% of households, with the most significant savings being for those currently sitting in the lower council tax bands. It also serves as an incentive to make best use use of land, and to deter land being bought purely for speculation.

THE LANDLORD’S GAME

The board game Monopoly is thought to be derived from the Landlord’s Game, which was designed by a Quaker woman as an education tool about the unfairness of property speculation.

Her 1924 version had an alternate set of rules called the Prosperity rules. These would implement a tax on land values – and guess what – instead of one player eventually bankrupting everyone else and winning, the game goes on forever! Imagine the family feuds that could have been prevented!

The lesson is clear – LVT is the sustainable solution to our local revenue problems, and only a Second Vote Green will deliver it.

(Thanks to Marie for the trivia!)

 

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