Taxing land use makes sense

Your editorial misses out a key issue regarding the serious housing situation. That is the increasing gap in wealth that is being created.

We now have chronic housing poverty with soaring housng wealth. Ther is only one way that this can be dealt with and that is through a fairer tax system.

The price of Britain’s farmland jumped by 27.3 per cent over the past year – the fastest rise in 30 years – fuelled by City investors capitalising on investment opportunities and tax advantages from buying up estates.

Farmland already enjoys a lower rate of capital gains tax as well as tax breaks on rental income and inheritance tax. Wealth generation in London and, especially, the City has contributed to this and international buyers are moving into the market as well.

Council tax has hit the buffers, with hard-up pensioners in my area ending up in magistrates courts, many morethan once.

The tax is capped at 5 per cednt, which is no longer able to finance local services. Many councils face serious arrears in collection, it looks as though it has no viable long-term future and the Lyons inquiry in 2006 was unable to come up with any long-tgerm solutions.

The Labour Land Campaign has produced one ansewer in picking up land values in the form of a land value tax, an idea which has already been given an airing in the Morning Star last year in a series of articles.

This should be part of a national left programme which Hyman Frankel raises in his letter in the same issue regarding the need for a unified Labour Party. Over the last five years, Gordon Brown has stealthily increased taxes faster than earnings – by more than 24 per cent.

MJ Loman