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RE: [LandCafe] Council tax is not efficient

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  • Harry Pollard
    Jock, What an excellent letter. You really made the most of 381 words. There should be more like it. Harry ******************************* Henry George School
    Message 1 of 2 , May 2, 2005

      What an excellent letter.

      You really made the most of 381 words.

      There should be more like it.

      Henry George School of Social Science
      of Los Angeles
      Box 655 Tujunga CA 91042
      818 352-4141

      -----Original Message-----
      From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of Jock Coats
      Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 6:25 AM
      To: Land Café
      Subject: [LandCafe] Council tax is not efficient

      Letter to Oxford Times in response to letter praising council tax:

      Dear Sir,

      I write with both bad and good news for Michael Tyce (“Switching
      Taxes”, 29th April).

      First, the bad; Council Tax does not encourage efficient land use, nor
      the earlier rates system. Because they tax the value of both land and
      buildings on a site, if you increase the density – the value of the
      buildings – the tax increases.

      The good news is that in Oxfordshire, there is multi-party support for
      a system that will do exactly what Mr Tyce wants a property tax to do;
      help solve Oxfordshire’s housing needs through more efficient use of
      land, whilst avoiding sprawl.

      Labour, Lib Dem and Green parties on the county council support Land
      Value Tax. For the Greens, it is manifesto policy to replace Council
      Tax. It is the Lib Dems’ proposed replacement for Uniform Business
      Rates, accounting for the bigger proportion of local government tax
      receipts. The Labour Land Campaign has the ear of the Treasury as they
      review local government funding.

      With the Vale of White Horse District Council they recently completed a
      pilot proving statistically that LVT can lessen the burden on those
      hardest hit by Council Tax and Uniform Business Rate. Lack of this
      proof is partly why Lib Dems nationally opted for Local Income Tax, and
      I hope we can persuade them to adopt LVT for both when next they review
      local government policy.

      LVT differs from Council Tax in one important respect – it is levied
      only on the value of land on a site, not the buildings. Within
      planning constraints, increasing building densities will not increase
      the tax due, while underutilization is relatively penalised.

      Disappointingly the Conservatives do not seem to support LVT.
      Perplexingly too, since it the “least bad tax” to the free market
      economists they seem to adore otherwise – like Adam Smith and Milton
      Friedman. Winston Churchill was a vocal supporter. It would
      substantially help resolve their dilemma of how to accommodate more
      households without using more land. To mis-quote Leo Tolstoy, “People
      do not argue with Land Value Tax, they simply do not know about it.”

      We would love Oxfordshire to trail-blaze a full pilot with all-party
      support, but at least I hope Mr Tyce is reassured that groups are
      actively campaigning for Oxfordshire to lead the way with an efficient
      land tax.
      (381 words)


      Jock Coats, Hon. Sec.,
      Lib Dems’ ALTER (Action for Land Tax and Economic Reform),

      Wardens’ Lodgings, Morrell Hall, OX3 0TU

      Tel: 07769 695767
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