Wednesday, 12 February 2014

IFS is right to back Land Value Tax

Dave Wetzel, President of the Labour Land Campaign congratulates the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) on its conclusion in its Green Budget 2014that a Land Value Tax on all commercial land would be more efficient and better for businesses than the current Business Rates system.

The IFS states that a land value tax “would remove altogether the disincentive to develop and use property that business rates creates”.

The Labour Land Campaign agrees that taxes on buildings act as a disincentive to use commercial sites efficiently but also that taxes on business are not only inefficient but are easily avoided and evaded whereas because land is immobile, an annual tax on the economic rent of each site according to its optimum permitted use cannot be defrauded and acts as an incentive to use valuable land in towns and cities efficiently and discourages the land hoarding and speculation that forces prices up.

Dave Wetzel says "The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ work showing the greater efficiency of Land Value Tax is a huge step forward for the UK to see a fundamental shift in taxation off earned incomes, savings and production and on to land and other natural resource rents. Land is not produced by human endeavour and land wealth is created as a result of public and private investments which we all pay for as tax-payers and consumers and not by the landowners who benefit financially."

The Labour Land Campaign recognises that most current taxes in the UK are unfair and inefficient. Income Tax along with National Insurance Contributions and Corporations Taxes are avoided and evaded by many, leaving the tax bill to be picked up by honest and less devious taxpayers. Everyone pays tax in some form or other directly or indirectly and those taxes pay for our public services that create and add to land value in the UK including transport, health care, good state schools, parks and so on but it is owners of land that reap the unearned income of land wealth through no effort on their part.

By reducing taxes on wages and business and introducing an annual Land Value Tax, land will be used more efficiently, demand for building on green land will greatly reduce and speculation in land prices increasing will disappear. Employment will grow as investors are encouraged to expand current businesses and start up new ones all over the UK and the land wealth which is created by all of us will be collected and used for the public good.

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