More land for homes

It would make more sense for Peter Hetherington to support the Government’s ruthless drive to build more houses if it really was going to flood property hotspots in the south-east with more houses. But, as there is no vacant building land left in the hotspots, the areas designated for “sustainable growth” are distant and, in the case of Northampton, not even in the south-east. Instead of moving the problem around, the government will, sooner or later, have to face the economic facts of house-price inflation.

There is within inflated south-eastern house prices quite a lot of room for manoeuvre, since more than half of the asking-prices are a mark-up for the value of the land. A land-tax based on self-assessment would make owner-occupiers think twice about overvaluing their property if valuations were kept on publicly available databases and were legally enforceable as market prices.

Moreover, people hanging on to land simply as a cost-free investment would sooner sell up than face the erosion of capital values, so providing more land for building homes.

David Reed
Labour Land Campaign