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September 18, 2012

A Bill to research Land Value Taxation

Calling all with an interest in major reform of Britain's property taxes. The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has tabled a Private Members Bill....

"to require the Secretary of State to commission a programme of research into the merits of replacing the Council Tax and Non-domestic rates in England with an annual levy on the unimproved value of all land, including transitional arrangements"

The Bill has the support of Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs. Its 2nd Reading (where a Bill and Explanatory Notes will be published) is on Friday 9th November.

It is almost exactly a year since the Conservative MP Nick Boles wrote in the Financial Times: "We should embrace a land tax". Boles was appointed Minister of Planning last week. His new colleague as Housing Minister is a chartered surveyor (land and development), another Conservative: Mark Prisk. With Liberal Democrat supporters of these reforms in positions of influence too - notably Dr Vince Cable at the Department of Business Innovation & Skills (in charge of banking reform and the Government Growth Strategy) - there has never been a better time for serious study of this subject, with a serious prospect of early reform.

Leading property tax expert and columnist in Valuer magazine Tom Dixon wrote last year: "Hard times make for hard decisions, and I believe the time has come to explore the introduction of a land tax. What are we waiting for?"

The answer: a Government prepared to take on the banks and the big home-builders, with their land banks. Given the right signals from Government, this network of researchers - the Professional Land Reform Group - is well placed to take on what Ms Lucas and her supporters in Parliament are calling for.

For now, we need to lobby our own MPs to make sure they turn up in the House to vote this Bill through, rather than return early to their constituencies as usual. We also, in PLRG, need volunteers to brainstorm what research is needed.


Posted by Tony Vickers at September 18, 2012 9:02 AM | TrackBack

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