June 2010 Archives

The subject for an informal talk at the next meeting of the PLRG will be Landvaluescape for Green Property Taxes. It will be given by Dr Tony Vickers, Hon Sec of PLRG, at the School of Economic Science, 11 Mandeville Place, London (off Oxford Street, Bond Street nearest LU station) on Thursday 1st July 2010 at 6pm-7pm. A short business meeting of PLRG will take place from 5.30, to which all are welcome: future PLRG activities will be discussed.

Dr Vickers will bring together the findings of his PhD thesis Visualising Landvaluescape: Developing the Concept for Britain (which can be viewed or downloaded in full here) and his inside knowledge of the Liberal Democrat Party's recent reaffirmation of its policy of Land Value Taxation. With Lib Dem advocates of LVT now in the Cabinet and a fixed five-year term for the Coalition Government, has the time now came for LVT?

As well as Lib Dems, the Green Party (1 MP) and the Cooperative Party (with 30 members elected under Lab/Coop banner) are now in a British Parliament, with LVT firmly part of their Manifestos. Whilst the Coalition Agreement makes no mention of LVT (and indeed Vince Cable's Mansion Tax was quickly shelved as the Agreement was being negotiated) today's FT no less calls for Council Tax to be replaced by LVT. The idea just won't go away!

Dr Vickers has had an abstract of a paper with this title accepted for the Green Economics Institute conference in Oxford 29-31 July. The PLRG meeting on 1st July is a chance to help frame that paper, which will be co-authored by Professor Sarah Sayce (Head of School of Surveying at Kingston University) and Professor Munir Morad (Head of Department of Urban, Environment & Leisure Studies, South Bank University), who were his PhD supervisors.

Please pass on this inviation to colleagues who may wish to attend. It would be helpful if Dr Vickers could be informed of the names of anyone wishing to attend, as SES may need to know. Phone him on 07950 202640 or email

At the meeting on 29th April to re-launch the Professional Land Reform Group (PLRG) it was agreed to hold routine bi-monthly meetings in London, as the organisation develops its programme of activities. The first of these meetings was set for Thursday 1st July, 5.30-7pm. The venue will be confirmed as soon as possible - but if anyone can offer a suitable room in Central London at that time, they should contact the Hon Sec Dr Tony Vickers - as should anyone wishing to attend the meeting.

The minutes of the re-launch meeting can be viewed here.

It was agreed that a priority topic for PLRG to debate remains - as it was when the organisation was formed in 2004 - devising ways of capturing as public revenue the uplift in land value which results from investment in new infrastructure (roads, rail, schools, hospitals, flood prevention, etc), as a sustainable and equitable means of paying for it. A meeting is to be sought with the London Mayor's office.

Members of PLRG were among a delegation from the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) which met with officials from HM Treasury's property tax team last week, to discuss whether the new Lib/Con Coalition Government might be interested in working on reforms to the tax system along the above lines. The meeting was positive and indicated that officials (if not politicians) are fully aware of the macro-economic arguments for Land Value Taxation (LVT).

The new Government includes several leading Liberal Democrats who are on record as supporting LVT. Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable (former chief economist for Shell and visiting lecturer at Nuffield College Oxford) has often spoke of the need to use property taxes more effectively to prevent 'boom-bust'; Environment Secretary Chris Huhne is Hon President of his party's LVT campaign group ALTER; Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister is, like Cable, a Vice President of ALTER.

Parliament also now includes the first ever British Green Party member: Caroline Lucas. Her Party included LVT in its manifesto, as did the Cooperative Party, which sponsored 30 successful Labour MPs.

The CEJ delegation to HM Treasury emphasised the potentially more favourable political climate for LVT, which could help remove barriers which researchers have encountered in the past - notably access to publicly held land and property datasets. A more open-access approach to OS 'base mapping' data, announced earlier this year by the outgoing Government, could also help.

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