Cheaper homes maybe, but not so the land

Sir, Your reports of the building industry’s problems meeting deputy prime minister John Prescott’s target of £66,000 for an affordable home (“Continental builders to bid for contracts”, September 29) rather miss the point, which is that this price does not include the land. The more people become aware of the extent to which the value of a house derives from the land it stands on, the more ordinary people and the business community may come to question why an economic factor as ancient as land is still so significant in modern economies, with not only the UK but Ireland, the US and Australia experiencing similar problems. Long-proffered solutions, such as land value tax, inheritance tax and the ill-omened development land tax (aka betterment levy or planning gain supplement) might be evaluated with a clearer understanding of their relative merits, or otherwise, if voters were made more aware of the influence of land values on Mr. Prescott’s proposals.

DBC Reed
Labour Land Campaign

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