We need a housing audit and land taxes
There is no housing shortage (Housing shortfall will reach 1m by the end of 2010, 29 September). There is housing injustice. In the UK there are over 800,000 empty dwellings; over 400,000 potential homes in disused commercial property; and 250,000 second homes. They grow in value, over the long term, simply because others need them and cannot have them. That is wrong. Land and property already carry the advantages of ownership, security and use value, such as rent and farm income. For something so fundamental to a decent life, that should be it.
The remedy is to balance the asset with liability. A land value tax of say 0.75% would do that – and could replace council tax. On a property with the current average value of about £150,000, the tax would raise £1,125. On my property, it might raise double that. I would be happy to pay. So would very many others in so-called middle England. On land and property worth £1.5m, it would raise £11,250. That is fair. We must recognise that capitalism funnels wealth to the rich, at the expense of the poor and the planet. The job of good government – of all shades – is to limit that power.