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WHAT IS LAND VALUE TAX AND WHY WOULD IT BE GOOD FOR BRITAIN?

Land Value Tax (LVT) is a levy on the unimproved value of land, it disregards the value of building, personal property and other improvements to real estate. LVT has been referred to as "the perfect tax" and the economic efficiency of a Land Value Tax has been known since the eighteenth century. LVT is a progressive tax in that the tax burden falls on titleholders in proportion to the value of locations, the ownership of which is highly correlated with overall wealth and income.

Land Value Tax would be payable each year depending on the location and size of a plot. We advocate that it should replace some existing taxes. It should not add to the overall tax burden, its purpose is to shift tax away from income taxes . Land means the site alone. A vacant plot in a row of houses would be taxed the same as a similar built-on plot. It taxes the size and location of he plot. It does not tax buildings or other works.

There are three strong arguments for the tax. It is socially just. It is the best way of financing infrastructure. And it is economically efficient.

First social justice. Property taxes are fairer than income taxes. In the UK the wealthiest 1% own almost 25% of all property. Today we base the tax system almost entirely on income rather than assets. This means the very rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This entrenches inequality.

Second, infrastructure. The benefits of infrastructure are uneven. A fast rail line from London to Birmingham will provide a windfall for property owners in those locations. It won't benefit other locations nearly as much. At present every taxpayer, everywhere, pays. Land value tax corrects this. It recoups costs from those who benefit the most.

Third, economic efficiency. Land value tax is payable whether or not the owner actually uses the plot productively. It penalizes owners of empty houses; owners of run-down sites. Unlike now, they would be taxed at the same rate as a site in productive use. This would promote inner city regeneration. There is a myth that Land Value Tax would destroy green spaces. In fact, the City of New York made a profit when it created Central Park. It greened over existing built-up areas. The increased property tax from surrounding neighbourhoods paid for this.

In summary, Land Value Tax is pro-enterprise and green. Its introduction would allow other taxes to be reduced; especially those on income and profits. Enterprise would be better rewarded. Building on a property doesn't change its location value. The location value of land comes from geography -a beautiful view; or from investment elsewhere - for example a high speed railway. Location value is maintained by society. It just and efficient to tax it.

  • Vince Cable visits ALTER stand at SLF conference, with members Toby Matthews and Daniel Henry. (Daniel Henry)
    Article: Nov 10, 2017

    Reception for launch of All Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture

    Monday, December 4, 2017 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

    Houses of Parliament, Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, 1 Parliament St, Westminster, London

    SW1A 2JR

    (Please allow circa 30 minutes to clear security at Portcullis House)

    The Coalition for Economic Justice is organising this event. It will be Chaired by Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats

  • money
    Article: Oct 7, 2017

    Home owners collect £50Bn economic rent annually by not having to pay taxes on land uplift. ALTER Secretary David Cooper's article on Libdem Voice shows that this has the same impact on our economy as a currency forging ring with a £50bn turnnover.

  • ALTER Bournemouth 2017 Fringe
    Article: Sep 19, 2017

    ALTER's fringe meeting attracted a good audience for speakers Rachel Collinson, Green Party spokesperson on Energy, Business & Industrial Strategy (left), our vice chair Dr Tony Vickers, Chairman Joseph Bouke (standing) Heather Wetzel of the Labour Land Campaign, and David Ford of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.

  • Sir Vince Cable meets David Cooper, ALTER secretary, and Joseph Bourke, Chair, at the Bournemouth Stand
    Article: Sep 19, 2017

    Calls from ALTER for taxation of property owners who are registered for tax outside the UK have resonated with our leader who called for "Fierce tax on overseas residents buying British property". Sir Vince Cable vistited the ALTER stand during the Bournmouth conference, here pictured with Chairman Joe Bourke and Secretary David Cooper.

  • Article: Sep 2, 2017

    If after 30 minutes you're not moved by this, check you still have a pulse

    .

    Henry George (September 2, 1839 - October 29, 1897) was an American political economist and journalist. His writing was immensely popular in the 19th century, and sparked several reform movements of the Progressive Era. His writings also inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism, based on the belief that people should own the value they produce themselves, but that the economic value derived from land should belong equally to all members of society.

  • Article: Aug 7, 2017

    ALTER is supportive of universal income, but recognizes the danger that any such money would be captured by increased rents. Universal Income cannot work without a mechanism to recapture the economic rent from land owership. A new spin on this idea, "Basic Rental Income", is described in a recent Libdem Voice article by our chairman Joe Bourke.

  • Rethinking economics of land and housing
    Article: Jul 30, 2017

    Dr Tony Vickers reviews a new book by Josh Ryan-Collns, Toby Lloyd and Laurie Macfarlane, "Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing" . This is an indictment of wastful austerity policies amd throws a spotlight on the Conservative strategy of socialism for the rich, ruthess capitalism for the poor. Vickers summarizes his review with the strong recommendation "This book is not by Liberal Democrats but it ought to be read by every Lib Dem campaigner." It highlights how in the last quarter century, the share of total bank lending to real estate has almost doubled to nearly 50% while the share lending to companies that create real new wealth has shrunk to a mere 15%. The post-crash quantitative easing by the Bank of England exacerbated this: six pounds out of every seven has gone into reflating the property bubble via bank lending.

  • Joe Bourke, ALTER Chairman
    Article: Jul 12, 2017

    Joe Bourke, Chairman of ALTER, has called for an all party group on Land Taxation in a recent Libdemvoice article. Could this by the answer to the Maybot's prayer for constructive policy suggestions from other political parties? There is some support for LVT within the Conservatives. After all Nick Boles (former conservative minister for planning) has suggested such a tax, and Tim Montgomorie, of Conservative Home fame, has also expressed support. However tt is hard to imagine such a policty appealing to Teresa May, the epitome of conservative (with a small "c") mediocrity.

  • Article: Jul 9, 2017

    Our Chairman Joe Bourke summarizes the views of progressive parties on Land Value Taxation in a recent articile in Libdem Voice... see article.

  • Terraced Houses
    Article: Apr 28, 2017

    In a recent article in Libdem Voice, ALTER secretary David Cooper summarizes the newly developed "Property Uplift Recovery Tax" proposal from ALTER. A more complete description can be found here.