The scandal of London’s 70,000 empty houses

I am sorry to have to tell Ros Coward that her wish for the media “to criticise the obsession with property speculation” is unreasonable. They are only presenting the truth about a most imperfect market which can be exploited by anyone with the resources to play the game.

The reason for the increased demand is a successful economy. The richer we feel, the more we want to spend on our homes. But the problem is not bricks and mortar but land – that stuff we can’t produce to meet in creased demand. Coward is correct to reject Kate Barker’s solution of “ever-more building” and say that the solution lies with the tax system. Land values are created by natural attributes and community activity and investment. A land value tax would fairly redistribute this common wealth, provide a continuous stream of revenue for public expenditure and stop land speculation at a stroke.

Carol Wilcox
Labour Land Campaign

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