Not enough to end austerity. Phased intro of small land value tax a step change towards fairer UK

15 September 2017

It will not be enough to end austerity. The phased introduction of a small land value tax along side the abolition of council tax, business rates and stamp duty would be step change in the creation of a fairer UK


From the point of view of the poorest renters the Archbishop of Canterbury was right. The UK economy is indeed in pieces and needs reform. The crisis of unaffordable housing to rent has to be tackled from both ends - rents and income.


Rents have gone up because the value of land in the chaotic UK market in land has escalated, while incomes have stagnated. That is oppressively squeezing the income needed for food, water, fuel clothes and transport with dire impacts on mental and physical health. 

Affordable rents have much, much less to do with the cost of building than with the price of land.  National and Local government ought to stop selling public land to private developers.  Council housing pays for itself over 50 or 60 years with tenants' rents if the inflated market value of land is not put into the viability assessments. 

​An alternative is Community Land Trusts in which land is taken out of the market and put into trust "in eternity" providing interest to investors while the interest, building and maintenance of affordable homes is paid for by the rents ​or leaseholders. 


All politicians should now be ashamed of the way since 2012 a viability assessment can be fixed to reduce the number of affordable houses which are built for renters.

​There are surveyors lawfully making living advising local authorities on how to reduce the number of affordable homes built by developers. ​Councillors and MPs were proud to have built council homes and flats on public land after the Second World War. Harold Macmillan built 300,000 council houses a year because Churchill told him to. 


But the crisis for the poorest renters is now; some immediate relief is needed. Ending austerity means

  1. ending the freeze on benefit increases,
  2. ending the cuts in housing benefit created by the bedroom tax, the benefit cap and the local housing allowance, all of which have increased the rent paid by the poorest tenants and
  3. restoring the 100% council tax benefit for the unemployed.

The benefit sanction, zero hours contracts and the universal credit leave people without income for up to three months. They create a pile of debts and must go. We urgently need a living unemployment benefit

Affordable rents should be defined as 33% of gross income. It is absurd to suggest that 80% of the local average market rent can be affordable. It increases with the market while incomes stagnate creating rent arrears and evictions.


​​There are both economic and humanitarian reasons for making rents affordable.  The Institute if Health Equity has reported. 

  1. Low income and debt impact on health Income can impact on health in different ways.  Income impacts on health directly, for instance, because of insufficient money to heat your home or buy a healthy balanced diet. Cold homes increase rates of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease; excess winter deaths and mental illness. Inadequate diets increase the risk of malnutrition, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
  2. In2010 it was estimated that inequalities in health accounted for productivity losses of £31-£33 billion per year, and £20-£32 billion a year in lost taxes and higher welfare payments.  Additional NHS healthcare costs associated with inequality were estimated to be in excess of £5.5 billion a year.​

I will not be enough to end austerity. 


  1. A small Land Value Tax is a secure progressive source of revenue. 
  2. A small percentage tax on the value of all land could replace inefficient and regressive taxes like council tax, business rates and stamp duty.
  3. It has been found to bring empty homes and unused land into use in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and other US cities. It works in Denmark, Australia and Hong Kong, 
  4. It would encourage the four big UK builders to release their bank of 600,000 plots of unused land.  
  5. Land cannot be transferred tax free ​on the internet​ to an overseas bank; so taxing it in the UK might even recover a little of the trillions shipped out to tax havens by the City of London. We know where they live.​g)
  6. LVT shifts tax away from the income of the middle and lower incomes onto wealth which has accumulated due to the market without a stroke of work by the land owners. 


You are invited to ​


Wed, October 18, 2017 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Houses of Parliament, Portcullis House, 1 Parliament St, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JR View Map

Chaired by Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Chair of APPG on Health in all Policies.

 Taxpayers Against Poverty is co-hosting this event with the APPG on Health in All Policies and the APPG on Poverty.  

The speakers will include;

Fred Harrison, the Land Research Trust 

Professor Michael Edwards, The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL

Anna Minton, Author "BIG CAPITAL:  Who is London for?" 

Ian Kirkwood, Scottish Land Revenues Group

Lindsay Judge, Resolution Foundation 

The people thrive with Land Value Tax in Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Harrisburg Pennsylvania and other US cities. 

The Land Research Trust will publish a short book at the seminar in which authors living in 

Denmark and the USA describe how it works in their countries.