Action for Land Tax and Economic Reform


Land Value Tax (LVT) is a levy on the unimproved value of land, it disregards the value of building, personal property and other improvements to real estate. LVT has been referred to as "the perfect tax" and the economic efficiency of a Land Value Tax has been known since the eighteenth century. LVT is a progressive tax in that the tax burden falls on titleholders in proportion to the value of locations, the ownership of which is highly correlated with overall wealth and income.

Land Value Tax would be payable each year depending on the location and size of a plot. We advocate that it should replace some existing taxes. It should not add to the overall tax burden, its purpose is to shift tax away from income taxes . Land means the site alone. A vacant plot in a row of houses would be taxed the same as a similar built-on plot. It taxes the size and location of he plot. It does not tax buildings or other works.

There are three strong arguments for the tax. It is socially just. It is the best way of financing infrastructure. And it is economically efficient.

First social justice. Property taxes are fairer than income taxes. In the UK the wealthiest 1% own almost 25% of all property. Today we base the tax system almost entirely on income rather than assets. This means the very rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This entrenches inequality.

Second, infrastructure. The benefits of infrastructure are uneven. A fast rail line from London to Birmingham will provide a windfall for property owners in those locations. It won't benefit other locations nearly as much. At present every taxpayer, everywhere, pays. Land value tax corrects this. It recoups costs from those who benefit the most.

Third, economic efficiency. Land value tax is payable whether or not the owner actually uses the plot productively. It penalizes owners of empty houses; owners of run-down sites. Unlike now, they would be taxed at the same rate as a site in productive use. This would promote inner city regeneration. There is a myth that Land Value Tax would destroy green spaces. In fact, the City of New York made a profit when it created Central Park. It greened over existing built-up areas. The increased property tax from surrounding neighbourhoods paid for this.

In summary, Land Value Tax is pro-enterprise and green. Its introduction would allow other taxes to be reduced; especially those on income and profits. Enterprise would be better rewarded. Building on a property doesn't change its location value. The location value of land comes from geography -a beautiful view; or from investment elsewhere - for example a high speed railway. Location value is maintained by society. It just and efficient to tax it.

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Latest News

Tony Vickers on Mansion Tax origins

The origins of the "Mansion Tax", mentioned in Vince Cable's speech at Bournemouth last month, go back to early 2006, as a policy working group, the Lib Dem Tax Commission (TC), started serious work. Many Lib Dem MPs saw any continuing domestic property tax alongside "Axe The Tax" (i.e. scrapping of Council Tax) as (a) confusing for voters and (b) expensive to achieve.

1 Oct 2009

ALTER in Government!

ALTER Chair Tony Vickers was among over 2000 Lib Dems at the Special Federal Conference of Lib Dems in Birmingham on Sunday 16th May 2010 - a date for the history books, as the first appearance of a Liberal Cabinet Minister before a Party Conference for some 75 years.

18 May 2010

Money Motion needs you

Several ALTER members attended a seminar organised by the Coalition for Economic Justice last week, which aimed to explore common ground between campaigners on Money Reform and Land (Tax) Reform. A full report will shortly appear on the CEJ website.

28 Jun 2010

Paper on Business Rate reform sent to HM Treasury

A paper which largely draws on policy drafted by ALTER and approved by Party Conference in 2007 has been sent to HM Treasury's Commercial Property Tax Team, at their request. This followed a meeting in HM Treasury, attended by ALTER's Dr Tony Vickers, that was set up before the General Election by the cross-party Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ). Subsequent to that meeting, CEJ wrote a pre-Budget submission to Chancellor George Osborne, copying the letter to Vince Cable.

15 Jul 2010

Money Reform Motion rejected

The motion which ALTER had supported (although it was not our idea) on radical reform of the way that money is created "from thin air" by banks has not been accepted by the Party's Federal Conference Committee (FCC).

16 Jul 2010

From the Lib Dem ALTER YouTube Land Tax Playlist

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