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Land Value Tax – Where are we as a party?

February 11, 2018 4:22 PM
By Joe Bourke in Liberal Democrat Voice

AlterALTER will address this question in our conference fringe at Southport next month to be held on Friday, 9th March at the Ramada Plaza, from 20:15 to 21:30 in the Promenade room.

Leading the discussion will be two LVT experts and experienced Liberal Democrat campaigners - Michael Meadowcroft and Tony Vickers.

All mainstream parties are now beginning to address the Land problem in the context of an ever worsening housing crisis. The Chancellor announced a raft of measures in the last budget including the Letwin review that is to be informed by a number of consultations.

Among these consultations, the Communities and Local Government Committee (CLG) are conducting an inquiry into the effectiveness of current land value capture methods and the need for new ways of capturing any uplift in the value of land associated with the granting of planning permission or nearby infrastructure improvements and other factors . ALTER's submission will argue that attempts to capture uplifts in land values by one-off levies have largely been unsuccessful and that an alternative is to go for annual levies as with a site value rating.

Last month, John Healey, Labour's shadow housing secretary, proposed changes to the 1961 Land Compensation Act so the state could compulsorily purchase land at a price that excluded the potential for future planning consent .

This comes on top of pressure from City Mayors that the APPG on Land Value Capture chaired by Sir Vince Cable, will be taking evidence on from next month.

When 'an idea whose time has come' is on the table (as is now the case with Land Value Capture and LVT), it will be important to have answers to the more difficult questions and credible costed solutions ready to roll out as and when needed.

Among these preliminary solutions will be key research initiated by the party into Business rate reform and being overseen by a Co-Chair of the Party's Entrepreneur's Network.

The Scottish Land Commission is not letting the heather grow under its feet and has commissioned research to investigate international experience in land value taxes to identify policy options for Scotland and to assess the potential of land value taxation to drive increased economic, social and cultural value from land in Scotland.

ALTER members in Scotland will be bringing proposals to the Scottish conference to establish a Cross Party Group at Holyrood to investigate the implementation of land value tax in Scotland, in conjunction with the Scottish Land Commission.

Making the party's support for land value capture solutions widely known within both the UK Parliament and devolved assemblies as well as with the general public requires a team of engaged members across the regions and nations of the UK.

Please do join ALTER and help us ensure that Liberal Democrats continue to lead the way in lobbying for radical social reforms in wealth and property taxation and sustainable local government finance across the UK.

* Joe is a Vice-Chair of Hounslow Liberal Democrats, Chair of ALTER and PPC for Brentford and Isleworth