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All News and Articles

  • Article: Sep 7, 2014
    By David Cooper

    "Welfare for the Rich - who really receives the biggest subsidies in the UK?"

    We all know that Britain's richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population but what is not recognised by most politicians or journalists is that the poorest are subsidising the richest because of our fundamentally flawed economic system.

  • Article: Jun 7, 2014
    By David Cooper

    George Monbiot quotes Professor Danny Dorling's in a Guardian article earlier this week. As Monbiot says, "the problem that lies behind our multiple housing crises is simple and obvious. It is, at root, a failure to tax". He advocates property taxes, and in particular an under occupancy tax.

    The least intrusive, easiest to administer, and hardest-to-avoid property tax is Land Value Tax. It discourages under-occupancy since it taxes based on potential rental value. But it is a truly libertarian tax : provided the owner stumps up the money, he or she can choose whether the property is actually used to its full potential.

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014
    By David Cooper

    Reports of empy mansions in Bishop's Avenue, London's Billionaire's row, have highlighted the shocking waste of housing in the capital. Foreign speculators abuse the UK's property ownership laws to provide a safe haven for their wealth. From Russian gangsters, African dictators and tax dodging Greeks, hot money floods onto the UK property market, as overseas speculators seek a safe haven for their fortunes. Our rule of law and impartial system of justice protects their land against trespass, damage and arbitrary confiscation. However the relationship is entirely parasitical. Speculators benefit from the protection of British law, but do not contribute towards the costs of maintaining the state.

  • Article: Mar 11, 2014
    By David Cooper

    Squaring the circle is hard, but according to Stuart Roger UKIP wants to achieve something even harder. They are determined to ditch Europe but equally determined to hang on to its biggest gravy train: the Common Agricultural Policy. Money from CAP goes to some of their most enthusiastic supporters: rural landowners and farmers.

  • Article: Mar 6, 2014
    By David Cooper

    Business rates in the UK are not fit for purpose, and MPs are calling for its reform, reports the Telegraph. Predictably, their remedy is to load all taxes onto profits and productivity; the Telegraph treasures a vision of a Britain that is a paradise for land speculators and hoarders who should have to pay nothing to maintain their huge land banks of unused land.

  • Article: Feb 18, 2014
    By David Cooper

    The floods have hit Datchet and neighbouring Eton. In the words of Deborah Orr (Guardian 15'th Feb) the effluent has hit the affluent. The prime minister, who used to talk about hard choices, has announced that money is no object. When the wealthy scream for suckle at the teat of central funding, money gushes with no questions asked.

  • Vince Cable visits ALTER stand at SLF conference, with members Toby Matthews and Daniel Henry. (Daniel Henry)
    Article: Feb 16, 2014

    On 7 - 9th March will be the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference and ALTER, as always will be present.

    Land Value Tax: The Business Advantage 1pm Saturday

    ALTER will be hosting the Saturday lunchtime fringe "Land Value Tax: The Business Advantage." It will explore how a Land Tax would be more beneficial to business than the currents rates regime.

    This will feature the business secretary the Rt Hon VInce Cable MP and veteran former MP Michael Meadowcroft, long time supporters of LVT.

  • Article: Feb 14, 2014

    In its Green Budget 2014, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) backs the replacement of Business Rates with a Land Value Tax on all commercial land.

    In chapter 11 of the Green Budget, authors Stuart Adam and Helen Miller criticise the current system of taxes on non-domestic property, i.e. Business Rates. The current system of Business Rates imposes a levy on the estimated market rental value of non-domestic property. Business Rates is paid by the occupying business, not the owner of the property. If rental values go up (for example, through increased footfall) the occupier suffers increased costs but the owner gets a free benefit. This creates a disincentive for the use and development of business property.

  • Article: Feb 12, 2014

    Veteral Land Value Tax campaigner Fred Harrison flings down the gauntlet to the Libdems in this thought provoking video, featuring contributions from former Liberal MP Michael Meadowcroft. It is a well produced and gives a straightforward and easy to understand presentation of the major pro-LVT arguments, complete with specific illustrations.

  • Article: Feb 9, 2014
    By David Cooper

    The Somerset Levels are flooded, and the Environment Agency is taking flak. But a quick look at way that tax is collected for drainage shows that trouble was inevitable.

    In England and Wales, Internal Drainage Boards (IDB) are responsible for providing flood protection. Flood protection is rather like insurance, in the sense that money has to be invested upfront, to decrease the risk of loss of property in the future. Unlike insurance however, flood protection cannot be implemented for each property individually. It therefore has to be implemented publicly, and financed through taxation. According to Wikipedia, all properties within a drainage district are deemed to derive benefit from the activities of an IDB. Every property is therefore subject to a drainage rate (i.e. a tax) paid annually to the IDB. So far so good.

  • Article: Dec 22, 2013
    By David Cooper

    ALTER needs to extend its thinking to taxation issues beyond LVT. Taxation is an extensive subject, and we may not have the capacity to develop a comprehensive position by ourselves. Therefore it is worth looking at examples where such work has been done.

    An example of a systematic approach to taxation is the Mirlees review. This contains a systematic review of the tax system, outlines fundamental principles, and does support limited application of LVT. It might be a better use of time to define the position of ALTER with reference to Mirlees. With this in mind Mirlees was briefly discussed by about 20 ALTER members at our London mini-conference of 16 November 2013, held at the Three Stags pub in Lambeth.

  • Article: Nov 2, 2013
    By Tony Vickers

    By now over 13 million people worldwide have seen the Paxman 'interview' of Russell Brand on Newsnight, which followed his guest editor-ship of New Statesman.

    Friends in America and Australia saw before me! When Alanna Hartzok (the UN rep of the Georgist Movement) said I must watch it, I did. Yesterday the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) resolved to try and contact Brand to point out that our Movement contains what he calls "people with alternative ideas" that can help change the economic paradigm.

  • Article: Oct 16, 2013
    By Tony Vickers in Henry George Foundation

    In 1999, when Chief Executive of the Henry George Foundation, I wrote a fairly lengthy 'Q&A' on LVT, as a spin-off from a research project that I had been funded to do: looking at how LVT might be introduced in the UK. This project had involved surveys of 'stakeholders' in property taxation, in which many questions had been raised. Questions Around The Smart Tax was designed to put together all the answers which I had been giving to these stakeholders (and others) and engender discussion. It also included the results of the surveys.

  • Article: Oct 15, 2013

    The conference will give ALTER members and supporters an opportunity to discuss the strategy needed to achieve our aim of implementing LVT. Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of will join us in the afternoon after 3pm. The provisional Agenda is shown below. There will be a fee of £8 per head for ALTER members and £15 for non-members. Tea and coffee is included in the fee but not lunch. To reserve a place at the conference please e-mail ALTER Treasurer Catherine Hodgkinson (CEHodgkinson@aol.com). Payment should be made (either cash or cheque) at registration. If you would like to book a place at the lunch (estimated cost £12/£15), please contact Catherine.

  • Article: Sep 23, 2013

    With all the excitement at conference we forgot to post this report on Vince Cables comments at ALTER's fringe

    "Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, is backing the policy, which he argues would address the unequal "accumulation of wealth" in land and property across society. The Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister revealed that the idea was being actively discussed at "a high level" inside the Coalition and called for a full-scale feasibility study into how such a reform would operate."