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October 28, 2010

UN SWOTs on Land Value Capture

Did you know that the UN supports Land Value Taxation? In 2006, UN HABITAT awarded a contract to the US-based Earth Rights Institute to develop one of several Global Land Tools for the benefit of governments in the majority/developing world: an online "How to do it" course on Land Value Capture. The contract document stated: "Land Value Taxation is the appropriate instrument for the urgent fight against global inequity and poverty". Securing Land Rights for the poor is seen as crucial to the UN's Millennium Development Goal 7, which includes the principle of "integrating sustainable development into national policies and programmes, to help reverse loss of environmental resources."

Earthrights' co-founder Alanna Hartzok has just contacted PLRG to inform us on project progress in a number of countries, using the SWOT methodology to analyse a country's current status as regards capture of land values for securing land rights and combating poverty.

Among the components of what the UN-HABITAT regards as good practice for land policies are:-

"Consider fiscal and other measures, as appropriate, to promote the efficient functioning of the market for vacant land, ensuring the supply of housing and land for shelter development; Develop and implement land information systems and practices for managing land, including land value assessment, and seek to ensure that such information is readily available; Make full use of existing infrastructure in urban areas, encouraging optimal density of the occupation of available serviced land in accordance with its carrying capacity; Consider the adoption of innovative instruments that capture gains in land value and recover public investments".

In the UK today, almost the only people (outside the top decile of income earners) able to enter the domestic property market are those with family already in it, via "the bank of mum and dad". Therefore it is timely that RICS is taking a long hard look at how tax impacts on the entire property cycle. Our Coalition Government is 'market friendly' and should be receptive to ideas that make the housing and land markets work better.

Posted by Tony Vickers at October 28, 2010 5:05 PM | TrackBack

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