Towards a Land Reform Bill workshop

Workshop One: Land taxation to benefit the many, not the few

This will run from 13:00 – 16:30 at UCL on Saturday 16th September 2017
(University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT)

Please sign up here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/towards-a-land-reform-bill-land-taxation-to-benefit-the-many-not-the-few-tickets-37268716735

Agenda
12:00: Arrival and registration
13:00: Introduction to workshop

  • What are we aiming to do today, background to the issues
  • Why land is land reform important?

13:15: Panel on various options for changes in taxation that would lead to land reform

  • A package of small changes
  • Land Value Tax
  • Ways to capture land value
  • More fundamental change- taking land out of private ownership

14:15: Smaller groups to discuss the pros and cons of each option (potential for break in this)
15:15: Report back
16:00: Next steps

Background
The majority of land (70%) in the UK is owned by just 0.6% of the population. Ownership gives benefits both in terms of making money and having rights over that land. Clearly, we do not all benefit equally from land ownership. How can changes in taxation change this situation?

What is land?

  • Land is locational space
  • Several unique features differentiate land from other ‘factors of production’: it is a free gift of nature, has no cost of production, is fixed in supply, immobile, eternal.
  • Land is essential for all economic activity to take place – and indeed for life itself.
  • Once land is turned into private property recognised in law, landowners can command returns from those who must use their scarce resource based purely on their ownership of it, unrelated to any skill or effort
  • Such returns are known as ‘economic rent’.

What is the value of the land?

  • Land values reflect the level of wider economic activity in that area, not the effort or skill of the individual landowner (‘location, location, location’)
  • Investment in infrastructure, transport links, schools & cultural amenities can dramatically increase the value of land.
  • Land values can be expected to increase over time as economic growth and a rising population generate growing demand for a resource that is fixed in supply.
  • The permanence and inherent scarcity of land make it a good asset for the storing of value and for speculation.
  • Land also an excellent asset to act as security (or ‘collateral’) for extending credit.
  • Land is a good basis for taxation because it can’t be hidden, and can be confiscated if tax is not paid

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