This site is about the introduction of Land Value Tax (LVT) in England and assumes that LVT will initially replace all property taxes: Council Tax, Business Rates, Stamp Duty, etc.
- Part 1 answers the question, "What is LVT?",
- Part 2 covers the historical background to land ownership.
Please check the "What's new?" page for the latest updates to the site.
We need taxes
Taxes pay for the things we need as a civilised society.
Almost three quarters of government revenue comes from just five taxes:
- 42% comes as a tax on work: PAYE, income tax (*) and National Insurance (**).
- 16% comes as a tax on selling things through VAT.
- 8% comes as a tax on enterprise and business through Corporation Tax.
- 4% comes as a tax on homes and gardens through Council Tax.
- 3% comes as a tax on factories, shops and offices through Business Rates.
- But we don't tax land!
The reason is simple: the people who wrote and influenced the law were large landholders (***).
Under our current corrupt (****) system of political funding and representation, wealthy donors, media owners and "think tanks" dictate policy and law in their own interest. This is one of the reasons why the public trusts politicians less than it trusts estate agents. There are non-corrupt ways to fund political parties and politicians so there should be a total ban on donations
- * in 1799 wealthy landholders in parliament (who were no longer willing to pay for wars and not willing for the country to take on more debt) introduced income tax to pay for the fight against the highly popular reforms introduced by the French Revolution and Napoleon. Income Tax was abolished in 1816 and re-introduced in 1842 to support business by removing import and export duties. Our largest tax is still a tax on work.
- ** revenue from National Insurance is not legally ring-fenced to support the NHS, benefits, pensions etc. and can be used by governments for other purposes. We have therefore included it as a general tax alongside Income Tax.
- *** we use "landholder" not "landowner" because every square inch the UK, including land under the sea, belongs to the "crown". That explains why you purchase the right to "hold" it under "freehold" and why the "crown" can force you to sell it under compulsory purchase and recover it if you die with no will and no heirs.
LVT is concerned with the "beneficial owner" of the land - the person (or entity) that benefits by way of income through use (rent etc.) and income if the land is sold. This is usually the "freeholder".
- **** just over 100 "superdonors" were responsible for nearly half of all donations to political parties in 2019. In the case of the Conservative Party 25% came from just 10! As an example, the Bamfords (personally and through JCB) have donated over £10 million over the last few years.
Naturally, this is all out of the kindness of their hearts in the best interests of society as a whole - in no way are such donations made in furtherance of their personal self-interests in order to get government policies that favour their companies or end up with a lordships or a knighthood.
These, and others, also fund "think tanks" and influence what is printed in the press, most of which is owned by non-UK citizens and those "not resident in the UK for tax purposes."
Rule by foreign media owners and tax avoiders
Rupert Murdoch is not a citizen of the UK and he is not resident in the UK for tax purposes. However, as a foreigner, he claims the right to set the UK political agenda, including the appointment of Prime Ministers.
From the front page of The Daily Telegraph 16/09/2023:
"Rishi Sunak drafted a resignation statement the day he was fined by police for breaching lockdown rules, but he was persuaded to stay on after an intervention by executives working for Rupert Murdoch. ... After staying on, with later support from parts of Mr Murdoch's media empire, he went on to become one of the main leadership contenders."
This was not the first time Murdoch has appointed a UK Prime Minister - he did the same with Tony Blair with whom he had an "almost incestuous" relationship. Murdoch also supported David Cameron in 2010 and Boris Johnson in 2022. No doubt he will support Keir Starmer in 2024.
Note: The Daily Telegraph is owned by the Telegraph Media Group owned by David and Frederick Barclay as part of Press Acquisitions Ltd which is part of Jersey-based May corporation which ultimately comes under Bermuda-based B.UK. The Barclays are notorious tax avoiders. David died in 2021 and in 2023 The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph were put up for sale by Lloyds bank because the Barclay's had failed to repay loans - perhaps their castle was a little too expensive?
Land Value Tax
Land Value Tax is a tax on the market value of land, not on land itself.
LVT and "levelling up"
Can there be a more cynical slogan than "levelling up"?
"Levelling up" mis-identifies the problem and goes the wrong way about fixing it!
The phrase has been used for a very long time by both Conservatives ("socialism is about levelling down. Conservatism is about levelling up") and Labour ("further education spending is about levelling up, not levelling down") and is often wrapped up in PR-twaddle such as "Unlocking talent, fulfilling potential" which merely re-packages the glaringly obvious!
"Levelling up" consists of throwing money at "projects" most of which would have had to be done anyway, so, as usual, the allocation of funds is simply a re-branding exercise, or a re-announcement for funding, and much of it is used for vote-buying in the same way that "right to buy" and "affordable homes" are used for vote buying.
Infrastructure projects are vitally important but forcing regions and local authorities to compete with one another (with all the expenses involved in submitting entries - win or loose) is not the right way to do it - especially if the results are skewed in favour of those who support the government of the day.
"Mind the gap!"
"Levelling up" implies a fundamental problem with our society: the huge gaps in personal and regional wealth in our country - the richest 1% have more wealth than 70% of the rest! Four (4!) people have £42.2 billion in wealth while 20 million people share £38 billion.
"Levelling up" won't address this gap, nor does it attempt to. Instead the accent is on "things" because politicians like to point to "things". Close to the author £50 million is for "transport improvements" (for huge new soulless housing and industrial estates that would have required improvements anyway), £20 million is for a "Learning theatre", £13 million is for "transforming a town center", £8.5 million is for "a cinema and workspace".
No doubt each of these is worthy in its own way but one gets the impression of Local Authority councilors and staff desperately scrabbling around for "projects" that would justify a submission for government money in the same way that companies and charities scrabble around for grants.
We need "fairness", not "levelling up"!
A decent job, a decent home, financial security and decent public services are vitally important for the creation of a harmonious society where people feel happiest, work hardest, commit fewest crimes, take fewest drugs and behave best.
To this list must be added "fairness". Why behave well (why bother at all?) if you see society as inherently unfair? That way lies riots, broken windows, kettling and brain injuries.
The economic and social benefits of LVT are huge - as described in our first two articles, but above all it is fair, and seen to be fair, because it starts the process of redistributing the wealth generated by economic development fairly throughout the country.
A few key points
- Council Tax is a tax on homes and gardens. Business Rates are a tax on doing business.
- Council Tax is unfair - home owners in South Derbyshire pay over twice as much as those in Westminster.
- Land Value Tax (LVT) is a tax on the value of land - not a tax on land, homes, gardens or business.
- Bad tax law is complex and has exceptions - making it easy for lawyers to find tax avoidance loopholes.
- Good tax law is simple, fair, impossible to avoid and permits no exceptions. LVT is good tax law.
- Good tax law keeps the collection of tax totally separate from how tax income is used.
- LVT is not a new tax, it replaces existing bad taxes like Council Tax, Business Rates and Stamp Duty.
Support for LVT
LVT has support from the right to the left, from the Institute of Economic Affairs to the Labour Land Campaign, and from all political parties: Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative. Winston Churchill supported a land value tax bill in parliament!
The reason for this support across the political spectrum is clear - LVT is fair and many organisations and MPs support a transition towards a fairer and more secure society in which people are happier, work harder and are more fulfilled.
Videos about Land Value Tax
These videos were not produced by us but they provide an introduction to LVT.
- Simple to understand - see here.
- Impossible to avoid - you can't hide land in a tax haven!
- Straightforward to implement.
- A replacement for existing taxes which are complex, unfair, and easy to avoid.