On the weekend of 12th-13th November 2016, hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and interests gathered to talk about the issues surrounding land, and to look for spaces for solutions. This report summarises some of the sessions from the weekend. Thanks to everyone who submitted a session summary. We hope it can be useful for people who weren’t able to make it to the event, and will help inspire further discussions.
Read the full report here
- 69% of land in the UK is owned by 0.6% of the population.
- UK housing is concentrated on 5% of the country’s land mass.
- Only 64% of people have a small stake in the 5% of land on which our housing is built.
- Home and land ownership is in decline.
- 1/3 of British land is still owned by aristocrats.
- The value of ‘dwellings’ (homes and the land underneath them) has increased by four times (or 400%) between 1995 and 2015, from £1.2 trillion to £5.5 trillion.
- The property wealth of the top 10% of households is nearly 5 times greater than the wealth of the bottom half of all households combined.
- Landlords own almost 40% of all former council houses with the government’s ‘right-to-buy’ scheme.
- The annual amount of overseas investment in the UK housing market has rise from around £6bn per year a decade ago to £32bn by 2014.
- 74% of house price increases between 1950 and 2012 in the UK can be explained by rising land prices with the remainder attributable to increases in construction costs.
- Land often increases in value due to public investment in infrastructure, such as roads, public transport, housing, etc. It has been estimated that the extension of the Jubilee Line of the London Underground which opened in 1999 increased local residential land values within 1000 yards of each of the stations by £13 billion (Riley, 2001). As a result, such publically funded infrastructure projects almost always involve a substantial transfer of wealth from a large number of taxpayers to a small number of land owners – a classic case of economic rent.
Who really owns Britain?, Country Life, November 2010.
Modern Land Reform, New Economics Foundation, publication forthcoming.
Who Owns Britain, Kevin Cahill, 2001.
We will be at House Of The Commons on Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd October. Please see their website for the final program and timings. Three Acres And A Cow is happening at 7pm on Friday 21st October and will feature special guest Peggy Seeger.
Quakers have an interest in Housing and Inequality which led us to run a conference on 20th February this year, a little while before the recent Housing Act.
If you’re interested in what went on, you can have a look at the open Facebook Group Quakers and Housing Inequality.
One of the outcomes following our conference was a Housing Toolkit, a resource document for use by Quaker groups and individuals. It might interest some of you, so I’ve uploaded a copy to this site here – Quaker Housing Toolkit Part 1
On 21st March 2015 130 people attended a one-day conference in Totnes to explore ‘How can we grow a proper relationship between people and place?’
They made a seven minute film and conference report, which provides links to audio recordings of the presentations that were given.
The speakers (with links to videos of their talks) were:
Tal Leshem Who does the land REALLY belong to: a moral perspective
Jonty Williams Economics for taking care of the Earth
Julian Pratt Stewardship – an alternative to owning the Earth
Simon Fairlie Radical approaches to accessing land
Jyoti Fernandez Access to land –an international perspective
Toni Spencer (Part 1) Poems for and from the Devon Land Conference
Toni Spencer (Part 2)