New book: The Case for a New People’s Budget

To many of us, notably Vince Cable, it has for long been blindingly obvious that the property boom would end – and end in pain for millions around the world.

The scale of the crash may have surprised even most who expected something like it at this time, as borrowing against unsecured ‘bubble’ land values was bound to lead to massive default.

However the Lib Dems’ campaign group on land value taxation (LVT) which I chair, ALTER, believes that the ‘Credit Crunch’ can be turned into a major opportunity for the Party, if it can press home its renewed conviction that, in order to prevent future “Boom/Bust” cycles, land values must be progressively removed from the banking system and restored to their rightful place as a major source of public revenues.

So the centenary of Lloyd George’s last Liberal Government’s attempt to introduce LVT to Britain was bound to be marked by ALTER this year with a “we told you so” publication of some sort.

The Case for a New People’s Budget comes at 5p a page (£5), with a Foreword by Vince that sums up why it is a “must read” for Party activists who are serious about Lib Dem prospects for power after next year’s General Election.

In Vince’s own words:

The booklet demonstrates that LVT is not just another property tax, important though it is that property should not go untaxed. LVT is already part of our taxation policy. As a first step we want to see commercial rates replaced by site value taxation. But this is only a first step towards a wider system for taxing land values. The writers argue that LVT has far-reaching effects on breaking down monopoly land-holdings, on encouraging new enterprises and raising the levels of earnings, on recovering the cost of major and minor public works, on supporting small-scale farming and the cultivation of marginal land, on stabilising house prices and, perhaps most importantly, reducing the disparity between the rich and the poor.

These are large claims but they spring from a fundamental view that the wealth produced over the centuries by the efforts of the community is reflected in land values and is therefore a proper target for taxation. ALTER has done us a service by assembling these arguments at this time.

Most of the book’s contributors are Lib Dems, but the first essay is by Geoffrey Lee, author of The People’s Budget, a detailed history of what Lee calls “that Edwardian tragedy”, with Fife farmer (and UKIP supporter) Dr Duncan Pickard offering perhaps the most thought-provoking essay on Food Scarcity & Farming.

The essay on Banking & Finance is by a former Tory, now a banking fraud expert witness, Chris Glover, who was attracted to the Lib Dems largely by the soundness of our policies on taxing unearned wealth. As he says:

A rise in land prices serves no useful economic purpose. It represents a transfer of wealth from the younger to the older generation. It brings in train rising unemployment and lower output. Land values are community created. Taxing them would go to the root of the problem of imprudent, speculatively-driven, bank lending.”

In my own concluding essays, I first set out “How We Do It” – a way to develop existing Party policy so that, in government, we would move swiftly to make fiscal policy both fair and efficient. Then I look at how classical Liberal philosophy needs to develop, so that we look in the same way we have looked recently at Land as terra firma, over coming decades, at all finite and/or reusable natural resources. I draw heavily on a newly published academic thesis A Liberal Theory of Natural Resource Property Rights, by Joseph Mazor of Harvard, published this summer.

How to buy The Case for a New People’s Budget: The publisher is ALTER. The book is available for £5 from our stand (no.132) at Bournemouth, alternatively add 50p and email [email protected] with a snail-mail address (UK) for delivery. We are also making the book available as an online audio download, as soon as possible after Conference.

* Cllr Tony Vickers is Chair, Lib Dems ALTER (Action on Land-value Taxation & Economic Reform).

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in Books and Op-eds.


  • Identifying and communicating the means that we need to employ to achieve liberal social, political and economic goals at the same time as explaining why and how those means are themselves quintessentially liberal isn’t easy. Doing so in plain and persuasive language is harder still. Tony Vickers, a long time exponent of land value taxation, is a determined champion of ideas that can help and equip Liberal Democrats to connect their environmentalism with intelligent tax reform and the pursuit of social justice. Anyone who wants to explore how the work of ALTER and the goals of the Green Lib. Dems could be more closely and successfully integrated would do well to read his short chapter, entitled Sustainable Taxation and Modern Liberalism, in The Case for A New People’s Budget. The chapter is a call to arms which I hope Green liberals and liberal land value taxers will take to heart and view as an invitation to make common cause in strengthening both the Party’s taxation and environmental policies.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 25th Jul - 2:50am
    Supporting a rival parliamentary candidate to a Liberal Democrat candidate requires expulsion from the party under the constitution(s).
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 25th Jul - 2:45am
    99% of people will fail to distinguish between Paddy Ashdown's new movement and the Liberal Democrats.
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 25th Jul - 2:37am
    It is petty to call the newspaper that published the article The Fail. It says more about the writer than the newspaper.
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 25th Jul - 12:52am
    David Raw Please , dear fellow Liberal , liberal and Liberal Democrat , I am a man who married a wife of American origin and...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 25th Jul - 12:03am
    It is a front organisation. Its members will want to influence it and make choices, so its shape will change. Gradually it will become more...
  • User AvatarGordon 24th Jul - 11:57pm
    Nick Baird - The point about retail is that 'Big Retail' enjoys much greater margins than it would have several decades ago or then 'small...
Tue 26th Jul 2016
Thu 28th Jul 2016
Sat 30th Jul 2016
Mon 1st Aug 2016
Sat 6th Aug 2016
Wed 10th Aug 2016
Fri 12th Aug 2016
Thu 18th Aug 2016
Sun 21st Aug 2016