Which first: LVT or Money Reform?

13 Oct 2010

The topic for ALTER's Fringe event at this year's Lib Dem Conference, in Liverpool on 18 September, was "Has the Banking Crisis Strengthened the Case for Land Value Taxation?". ALTER committee member Brian Hodgkinson presented the 'for' case; Ben Dyson, from the PositiveMoney campaign (but also a supporter of LVT) agreed - but argued the case for Money Reform to come first.

Hodgkinson's arguments are set out in a new chapter of the book "The Case for a New Peoples Budget" which has been reprinted, following its success at the 2009 Conference. It is summarised in one a set of new leaflets (7 so far) published on this website and produced specially for conferences and other events.

At the meeting, he pointed out that the deficit is increasing at £3 billion a week and that the effect on marginal production of not cutting conventional taxes further has been ignored, as has the need for measures to stop speculation in land once the economy begins to recover.

Dyson's argument for Monetary Reform to come before LVT is clear. He says: "We've just come through a banking crisis. The public's attention is on the banks, so we should ride that bandwagon while the opportunity is there. Also it was the banking system, not the tax system, that nearly collapsed. Therefore our government is currently open to radical changes in banking but doesn't have the same impetus with regards to tax reform." Finally, he says: "A shift to LVT would be easier in the benign economy that would follow a successful reform of banking and the system of money creation."

James Robertson, a co-founder of the New Economics Foundation and long-time supporter of both LVT and Money Reform, takes a middle road. In a message to ALTER just before Conference, he wrote: "There is no conflict between LVT and monetary reform. They will complement each other. Both will help to divert investment away from land and stop housing booms and busts. They don't depend on one another. But the good society will need to have both."

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