South Central Lib Dem Conference to debate LVT & Housing

13 Oct 2010

The Policy & Conference Committees of South Central Region Lib Dems have agreed to debate a motion calling for LVT at their conference in Oxford on 30 October. The motion was drafted by ALTER committee members Margaret Godden (former Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council) and Dr Tony Vickers, who is currently Lib Dem Housing Spokesman on West Berkshire Council.

The text of the motion, which links tax reform specifically to the crisis in affordable housing in the south of England, is:-

"Conference notes the disquiet felt by many Liberal Democrats at aspects of the coalition's economic measures, in particular the reduction in public services generally and the increase in tax, especially VAT, which has not been switched to richer taxpayers as effectively as we would have wished.

"Conference notes that proposals to cut Social Housing Grants and cap Housing Benefit are highly likely to result in an almost complete halt to building of new affordable housing, unless balanced by incentives to release land.

"Conference further notes that many commentators here are now urging the government to follow the lead of Governments elsewhere, e.g. Australia & Ireland, and introduce land value taxation (LVT) as part of their economic recovery package. This would recognise that land values represent a large source of unearned wealth and so LVT would be a 'fair' tax; and that one effect of the tax is to encourage economic activity, especially the redevelopment of vacant, derelict and under-used urban land and buildings, much of which is still exempt any business rates.

"This conference therefore urges Liberal Democrats in government to make a strong case for the introduction of a significant measure of LVT on non-residential urban land (which is already Party policy) at the earliest opportunity, in particular to stimulate the construction of more affordable housing."

At the Party's Federal Conference last month in Liverpool, a Motion was overwhelmingly passed which called for Liberal Democrats in government to keep working "to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are not disproportionately affected" by the Coalition's planned austerity measures, and "to ensure that the wealth and inequality gap does not widen". Specifically it called for the following measure:-

"Insist that Liberal Democrat ministers are given the freedom and resources to commission reasearch to fully assess the viability and practicalities of increasing taxation on wealth - including land values."

The Oxford Motion takes up this call.

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