ALTER Fringe – Simulating a LVT funded Universal Basic Income.

Action for Land Taxation & Economic Reform (ALTER) will hold its conference fringe on Sunday, 19th September 2021 13:05 to 14:15. The theme of the fringe is simulating a land value tax funded Universal Basic Income.

A presentation followed by Q&A’s will be made by Nikhil Woodruff, technical lead at the UBI Center, a think tank researching universal basic income policies. He is also the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at PolicyEngine. Other contributors to the research include Max Ghenis president of the UBI Center, and co-founder and CEO of PolicyEngine and Charles Bauman, research assistant at the UBI Center.


“As early as the 13th century, philosophers have proposed that members of society have a right to subsistence and a right to the commons. We trace these ideas from the English Charter of the Forest (1217) to Thomas Paine’s Agrarian Justice (1797), finally to a policy manifestation of the idea: a universal basic income (UBI) funded by a land value tax (LVT). We discuss the theoretical economic effects of an LVT-funded UBI and the concentration of land wealth in the UK. Using the open source OpenFisca UK microsimulation model, we report the distributional effects of such a policy in the UK. We find that a LVT-UBI would reduce poverty and inequality, and discuss the misalignment between income and wealth that can distort traditional approaches to measuring this reform. We conclude with a demonstration of PolicyEngine UK, a web application that allows anyone to reform the UK tax and benefit reform and see the impact on the UK and their own household, and preview our plans to add LVT to PolicyEngine.”

Land Value Tax (LVT) is a levy on the unimproved value of land, it disregards the value of building, personal property and other improvements to real estate. LVT has been referred to as “the perfect tax” and the economic efficiency of a Land Value Tax has been known since the eighteenth century. LVT is a progressive tax in that the tax burden falls on titleholders in proportion to the value of locations, the ownership of which is highly correlated with overall wealth and income.
Land Value Tax would be payable each year depending on the location and size of a plot. We advocate that it should replace some existing taxes. It should not add to the overall tax burden, its purpose is to shift tax away from income taxes. Land means the site alone. A vacant plot in a row of houses would be taxed the same as a similar built-on plot. It taxes the size and location of the plot. It does not tax buildings or other works.
There are three strong arguments for the tax. It is socially just. It is the best way of financing infrastructure. And it is economically efficient.

ALTER will also be running an informational video at our online exhibition stand. We hope to meet members online at conference. Do please visit the  Lib Dems ALTER website for more information.

The ALTER AGM will follow the fringe meeting from 14:30 on Zoom. To join Click here

* Joe is a member of Hounslow Liberal Democrats and Chair of ALTER.

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40 Comments

  • John Marriott 14th Sep '21 - 7:58am

    Here we go again. You’ve got to hand it to Joe for his tenacity and loyalty to the cause of LVT. So, are we taking bets on how long this thread will run and who will be monopolising it if it does take off? Better sharpen your pencils. There are bound to be a lot of facts and figures floating back and forth. Whether any would be useful in your next pub quiz may be debatable!

  • a universal basic income (UBI) funded by a land value tax (LVT)

    We advocate that it should replace some existing taxes. It should not add to the overall tax burden, its purpose is to shift tax away from income taxes.

    Which one is it? You can’t have both of those simultaneously!

  • Laurence Cox 14th Sep '21 - 12:51pm

    LVT (or London Value Tax, as I call it) is far from a ‘perfect tax’. In London, house prices are much higher than in the North despite the cost of construction being nearly the same and this difference is a reflection of the value of the land. The cost of building my average semi-detached house on the outskirts of London is less than one-third of its value; while for my late parents’ house in Coventry, of a similar size, the building cost would be around 70% of its value. In the North, based on building costs, there must be houses where the land value is zero (or perhaps even negative).

    London has 73 MPs (and will have 75 under the boundary changes); none of them will vote for LVT because they know that they will be slaughtered at the next election by their angry constituents. A nationwide LVT will make the furore over the NI changes look like a vicarage tea party.

    Of course, had LVT been introduced back in the 18th century when only the rich owned their own homes it could have worked, but as the old Irish saying goes “If you want to go there I would not start from here.”

  • Peter Martin 14th Sep '21 - 12:53pm

    At the moment we have a shortage of many workers including nurses, doctors, lorry drivers, building workers and agricultural workers. We read that apples are either rotting on the ground because there is no-one to pick them and even if there were there’s no one to load them on to a truck and deliver them to supermarket.

    And the Lib Dem solution to all this? We might think it would be about increasing wages and introducing better training schemes to make these occupations more attractive to our young people and thereby not waste the resources which are available to us. Instead it is to pay everyone a UBI so they are free from the restrictions of having to go to work and earn a living.

    And Lib Dems wonder why they are often perceived as being out of touch with reality!

    PS An LVT may have its merits but it won’t replace any existing taxes, let alone be a single tax. It will be just another tax and so probably not a great vote winner.

  • The LibDem consultation paper on UBI notes the following with respect to Land Value Tax:
    “A possible replacement of existing property taxes by a Land Value Tax may lead to the raising of additional amounts depending on the level at which the tax is set. This is currently difficult to estimate due to the lack of an appropriate land value registry”.

    Economists like Joseph Stiglitzhave long drawn attention to the concept of the deadweight loss of taxation (a measurement of the economic loss that can be caused by a tax due to its damaging effects on supply and demand). A land value tax is generally favoured by economists as (unlike other taxes) it does not cause economic inefficiency, and it tends to reduce inequality.

    A 2017 article in Progress set out the argument that Land Value Tax and Universal basic income need each other.
    • It is the most secure way to provide funding for a Basic Income.
    • It doesn’t distort economic decision making so will allow Basic Income to be part of a growing, functioning economy.
    • If Basic Income increases incomes of recipients, there is a danger that those increases will be captured by rent-seeking landlords and others (i.e. rents or interest rates will just go up till they have absorbed all the extra money). If this happens, LVT will allow society to recoup most/all of the revenue captured by rent-seekers and push it back to Basic Income recipients.

    Policies like minimum and living wages insofar as they actually increase the amount of money in people’s control can end up simply increasing the level of rents in the economy and escalate the cost of housing benefit, as has been seen in recent decades. Giving people more money (or rather forcing productive employers to squeeze margins between increasing rent and increasing wages) will eventually increase aggregate rents leaving those we tried to benefit in the same situation as before, but with higher rents and higher rates of dependency on assistance
    The impact of these effects have consistently been underestimated, seeing “LVT” as just another tax in a portfolio of taxes. There is strong evidence, that there is more than enough economic rent generated in the economy to pay a Universal basic income along the lines illustrated in the consultation document and as the prospect article notes “LVT will allow society to recoup most/all of the revenue captured by rent-seekers and push it back to Basic Income recipients”.

  • Simon R,

    a guaranteed minimum income would replace the personal tax allowance, NI threshold, unemployment benefits and/or Universal credit basic allowance. Rather than collecting the resulting increases in income tax and NI from withdrawal of allowance the taxes would be replaced with LVT. The overall tax burden remains unchanged. It is the form and distribution of taxes that change. Income tax and NI allowances are replaced with a guaranteed minimum income in the form of a tax credit or benefit payment.

  • Laurence,

    ALTER advocates a homeowners allowance for owner occupiers (not investment properties or 2nd homes). The homeowners allowance is baaed on the local housing allowance i.e. the value of properties in a local area at the 30th percent quintile. Effectively, any owner occupied properties below this level would pay no LVT. Only properties above this level pay LVT and the capitalised value of the local housing allowance substitutes for the allowable deduction for buildings.
    The rate of LVT across the country would be uniform and only properties in the top 70% by value in any local area (including London) would pay LVT on the value after deduction of the owner occupier homeowners allowance.
    London has among the highest rates of unemployment and deprivation including child poverty in the country. It also has the highest proportion of renters. If its election success you are aiming for, look to LVT to tackle the source of this inequality.

  • John Marriott 14th Sep '21 - 3:17pm

    Here we go again!

  • Peter Martin,

    UBI or guaranteed minimum income is a 21st century welfare reform designed to ensure that everyone has a minimum income at subsistence level. A subsistence level income is not an alternative to work.
    There are labour shortages in some sectors and a record number of job vacancies – over 1 million even though the number of employees on payrolls has already returned to pre-pandemic levels.
    Employers will increase wages to recruit workers as required. That is the labour market. The “We” in your “We might think it would be about increasing wages and introducing better training schemes” is the employers that are running businesses.

  • Peter Martin 14th Sep '21 - 3:36pm

    @ Joe Bourke,

    ” The overall tax burden remains unchanged.”

    You’re making the usual mistake, when it comes to economics, of assuming that you can make one change and everything else remains the same.

    So, you’re assuming that someone who is now earning a relatively small income and paying a small amount of tax will behave exactly the same if they receive a UBI and have to pay a lot more tax, with the loss of their personal allowance, to bring them back to close to where they were to start with. Many will simply settle for the UBI and not pay any tax at all.

    That means someone else will have to pay more. It also means that their productive capacity will be lost and so there will be an additional inflationary pressure in the economy. Therefore still more tax will be needed to dampen this effect.

    Why not just hang back a bit and see how anyone else in the world goes on with their UBI? I would predict it would either be a complete flop or that the UBI will be so small as to be not worth having. If someone else tries it we’ll be in a better position to know for sure.

  • Peter Martin,

    I would say you are mixing up your microeconomics and macroeconomics and making macro assumptions based on individual behaviours.
    The macro economy is based on the sum transactions between individuals, firms and government. Tax, money, credit and government policies including redistribution are all important elements that influence behaviour and are enablers of economic activity, but they are not The economy.
    Someone else has already tried a Universal dividend. Alaska has had a form of UBI for decades https://futurism.com/images/universal-basic-income-ubi-pilot-programs-around-the-world

  • Laurence Cox 14th Sep '21 - 7:30pm

    @Joe Bourke

    “the value of properties in a local area at the 30th percent quintile.”

    A quintile is a fifth, so the lowest quintile is the bottom 20%, the second quintile is 20-40% etc. “30th percent quintile” is a contradiction. Do you mean the average value of all properties in the second quintile?

  • Laurence,

    it should read 30th percentile as used by local authorities to determine local housing allowances.

  • Peter Martin 14th Sep '21 - 8:04pm

    @ Joe,

    Alaska isn’t the most populous of US States ( ~ 730k) so the oil funded payments can be best understood as a way of trying to boost that. It also has the lowest rate of general taxation with no State based income tax or sales tax. This has to be with the approval of the US Federal Govt with a view to building the Alaskan economy. The U in UBI has to mean Universal which it can’t be unless the whole of America is included.

    It’s good that employers in the UK don’t have it all their own way. There is no buyers market any longer. That is probably to be expected with the amounts of money the Govt has injected into the economy. Who said fiscal stimuli don’t work? Having said that we don’t want a useful stimulus to translate into a generalised and wider inflation problem, which is all the more reason to pay worker a decent wages for doing something rather than pay out a subsistence allowance for doing nothing.

    You’ve made the point that a subsistence allowance isn’t an alternative to a paid job. It will be for some. Maybe not many, but add in a part time cash in hand job in the black economy and the attraction increases. If I had to I could make a living mowing lawns for £25 a time cash. No questions asked. No income tax no VAT. Add in a few shed constructions, garden paths laid, hedges cut type jobs, (plus my UBI of course )and I’d do even better! I don’t even live in a particularly affluent area. If I bought a camper van and was prepared to spend the summer moving from job to job down in the affluent areas of the south I’d really be able to rake (sorry about the pun) it in.

    The best change that came out of the coalition was to introduce a relatively generous tax free personal allowance which removed the previous incentives towards ‘irregular’ working practices. It would be a pity to throw that away on some half baked madcap and untested scheme.

  • Phil Wainewright 14th Sep '21 - 9:13pm

    I agree with Joe

  • Peter Martin 15th Sep '21 - 10:21am

    @ Joe,

    “I would say you are mixing up your microeconomics and macroeconomics and making macro assumptions based on individual behaviours”

    That can be an problem at times especially when Lib Dems ask questions like “Where is the money going to come from?” in connection with Govt spending.

    Caron on another thread makes the point that to earn another £20, UC Claimants will have to work more like another ten hours, if they can get the work, rather than the two hours claimed by Theresa Coffey. So, in this instance, incentives, or disincentives, to work do have both micro and macro economic implications. Micro in the sense that, in strictly rational terms, its not worth working for £2 per hour. Macro in that the underutilisation of an available resource is an unnecessary waste.

    There’s no discussion of the latter on the thread which is probably only to be expected on a Lib Dem website.

  • Peter Martin,

    the issue of how a guaranteed minimum income is to be delivered is yet to be resolved. Nixon was almost persuaded to introduce a negative income tax for the USA https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/negative-income-tax-explained but was concerned by the politics of having hippie communities banding together in self-sufficient communities and living of the state. He did bring in the family assistance plan which had negative income tax at its centre – it guaranteed money to families with children, with assistance payments declining as a function of earnings. President Ford authorized the earned income tax credit. Later expanded under President Reagan, the EITC functions similarly to how a negative income tax would and has become one of the pillars of American transfer policy. This was the basis for Gordon Brown’s working tax credit under New Labour.
    With the introduction of Universal Credit we have a somewhat similar system, but it still suffers from the same flaws that caused Nixon to abandon the negative income tax. People excluded from participation because of the politics of having a few people opt out of the system and choosing to rely on benefits rather that full-time employment as a principal source of income.
    You are right that this is a LibDem website where peoples individual liberty and freedoms trump such considerations as seeing the underutilisation of available labour resources as an unnecessary waste simply because some individuals choose to pursue a more basic and simple lifestyle.

  • Peter Martin 15th Sep '21 - 3:50pm

    @ Joe,

    The problem you have with having “individual liberty and freedoms trump such considerations as seeing the underutilisation of available labour” is that only a small minority of the electorate will agree with such a stance. They probably wouldn’t put it in those terms but Labour and Tory voters alike, and probably most Lib Dems too, would consider that unemployed workers should be actively looking for work to qualify for any State benefits.

    The problem is that when there aren’t enough jobs the unemployed are being pressured to find work which simply doesn’t exist for many. The motivation behind the Job Guarantee concept is to avoid that situation and actually provide a job for everyone who needs one. If anyone is too sick to work then they can be put on sick leave. Even in good times many disabled workers are overlooked – but they wouldn’t be with the JG scheme.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-32613957

    Of course the devil is in the detail with any radical change but the problems aren’t insurmountable. With the right explanation it could be an electoral winner. It’s a policy of inclusivity. If we accept that most of us need to work to keep society functioning then there’s no reason to exclude anyone from the obligation providing we ensure that everyone has a minimum share, or more ideally a fair share, of what is available.

    There’s no point campaigning for better welfare provision when the public mood is clearly dead set against it.

  • @Joe Bourke: “Policies like minimum and living wages … can end up simply increasing the level of rents in the economy” That’s actually very perceptive and largely correct (as an aside, it’s one reason why policies about simply giving more money in benefits and raising minimum wage tends to not work in the UK). However, the solution is to sort out the housing crisis: It’s the shortage of housing that causes rents to always rise in line with the maximum that people can pay. Fix that, and the problem will largely go away.

    BUT… “It doesn’t distort economic decision making” Yes it will! Consider for example a proposal to build a new rail station somewhere. That would increase the value of land in the vicinity, thereby increasing the LVT tax that landowners would have to pay. How do you think they’ll react? Most likely, a huge campaign against the station. And ditto for any other proposal that would increase nearby land values. ANY tax, by virtue of its own existence, distorts economic decision-making by creating incentives for people to try to avoid that tax, and LVT would be no exception.

    a guaranteed minimum income would replace the personal tax allowance, NI threshold, unemployment benefits and/or Universal credit basic allowance.” That’s never going to work for the poorest if you want to keep it revenue-neutral. You’re basically taking money that is at present preferentially given to people who need it (Unemployment benefit, etc.) and you’re proposing instead distributing that same amount of money evenly to everyone, irrespective of need, as UBI. That’s inevitably going to make the people who currently receive benefits worse off.

  • @ Joe Bourke “the issue of how a guaranteed minimum income is to be delivered is yet to be resolved”. Not exactly the best stance to adopt when trying to justify it to the electorate.

    On LVT, are you willing to give us a full and accurate historical picture of what happened inside the Liberal Party when Lloyd George was pushing LVT in the late 1920’s ? Two Liberal MP’s were reported in The Times as coming to fisticuffs over it at the Party Conference.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Sep '21 - 5:03pm

    Here Joe does his best, though to little avail with so much negative response from people such as peter!

    I rarely expect new, old good or bad ideas from Labour. i prefer them to the Tories by all accounts but do not expect much from the party of Rachel Reeves who demonised those who were unemployed while trying to close a lap dancing venue in her area and make the staff- unemployed!

    Peter ubi is about dignity. That is it. Socialists used to preach it though not practice it. Can you at least get it? Dignity means no extreme poverty. It means someone else does not get paid to tell another person they need to satisfy them , ie the person paid to push the unemployed around, that they need to justify the food ration like money they get!

    The unemployed, disabled, poor, do not have powerful unions and bosses who in the Labour vs capital nonsense, are as bad as each other regularly!

    Therese Coffey could be out of a job at least at the DWP, reason enough for ubi!

  • Peter Martin,

    you are going off message according to Bert Schouwenberg, International Officer at the trade union GMB https://www.thehitavada.com/Encyc/2020/8/11/Options-To-Help-Poor.amp.html
    “This work ethic has been prevalent since the days of the Poor Laws and lives on in the rhetoric of politicians purporting to represent “hard-working families” even though it is not universally applied. The ruling classes have never entertained the dubious values of hard work, preferring instead to enjoy the proceeds of rentier capitalism, but what Duncan Smith and his ilk fear most is that UBI would remove the element of control that being forced to work brings.

    They view poverty as a personal aberration that should be remedied by getting a job and earning a living, despite increasing numbers of working poor. The goal of full employment and guaranteed jobs for all, even in a relatively prosperous country like Britain, is a fantasy in a capitalist economy, especially at a time of rising productivity brought about by technological advancement and the offshoring of so many industries to lower-cost locations.

    However, that has not stopped the TUC from pursuing this unrealisable ambition, without any push for or mention of UBI. To that end, unions are prepared to back the Government of the day in wasting enormous sums of money on nuclear power, HS2, a third runway at Heathrow, Trident and other white elephants, regardless of their environmental and social impact, just because they will provide jobs. Nevertheless, there are trade unionists who understand that the introduction of UBI, far from weakening their position, would actually enhance their bargaining power because of the reduced pressure on people to take junk jobs in Amazon, Uber or McDonald’s and the guarantee of an income for members who withdraw their labour during an industrial dispute. Other criticisms of UBI are that it would be unaffordable and because it is payable to everyone would deepen inequality.

    In fact, a 2009 study demonstrated that Income Tax set at 57 per cent would be sufficient to guarantee everyone £170 a week or £230 in 2020 terms. Raising taxes in this manner would make 80 per cent of the population better off while the richest 20 per cent would be worse off so a UBI would significantly improve equality as measured by income. There are of course other ways to fund it and the imposition of a land tax, for example, has found favour in some quarters“.

  • Simon R,

    “Consider for example a proposal to build a new rail station somewhere. That would increase the value of land in the vicinity,” Most people welcome infrastructure improvements that increase the value of their property. The Jubilee line was largely funded by increases in business rates along the line and welcomed by the businesses that sought to benefit.
    A guaranteed minimum income is not wholly universal. It applies to taxpayers (in the form of a tax credit) and those eligible for benefits by virtue of having no other sources of income. It is the poorest who will gain the most and higher earners who currently benefit from 40% tax relief on personal allowances and maximum NI threshold limits that will contribute more to the pot.

  • David Raw,

    “are you willing to give us a full and accurate historical picture of what happened inside the Liberal Party when Lloyd George was pushing LVT in the late 1920’s ?

    I would love to, but I fear we may annoy John Marriott even more than we already have by revisiting this history.

    There is a link to the history here though Lloyd George and Land Taxes and here The Land and the Nation and Wales

  • Well said, Lorenzo.

  • John Marriott 15th Sep '21 - 8:35pm

    Well, I need to eat my words, the ‘words’ I wrote at around 6pm after reading David Raw’s ‘challenge’. Joe Bourke DOES have a sense of humour after all. It’s just as well therefore that my post to David Raw came up against the dreaded ‘flood protection’. Had it got though the egg would have been well and truly on my face! I guess that the device used by LDV editors to corral certain garrulous individuals does have its uses in saving those individuals from the occasional embarrassment.

    I bet you would be a wiz at pub quizzes, Joe! Perhaps you already are. Hounslow beware! We are just not worthy 👍😀

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Sep '21 - 9:55pm

    Thanks Joe , we keep trying my friend!

  • Peter Martin 15th Sep '21 - 10:00pm

    @ Lorenzo, @ Joe

    “Peter, ubi is about dignity…… Can you at least get it?”

    I get that this is bait as laid by such neoliberals as Milton Friedman. It’s the switch that we need to be concerned about. There are many on the left who have swallowed it, such as the GMB official Joe mentions, but there are many others who haven’t and are giving fair warning. Phrases you might want to Google for more info would include:

    “The UBI is a neoliberal plot to make you poorer”

    “The Basic Income Guarantee is a Neoliberal Strategy”

    “Love the idea of a universal basic income? Be careful what you wish for”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Sep '21 - 10:23pm

    Peter

    As an albeit youthful Labour member, of social democrat ilk, far be it for me to like, let alone utilise that over used expression, neo liberal, but ok.

    I have one strong reason to be for a ubi, that I share with neo or at least, classical liberals. We abhor governments top heavy in mindless technocrats or far worse, bureaucrats pushing the poor or supposedly dependent around. They want to shrink the state, I do not with the exception of waste. It would make me glad indeed to be a party to abolition of the DWP!

    And there’s nothing about a ubi that makes anyone more poor. You can anyway, get rid of the “u” and means test it at say at the point of the 40% threshold, fifty thousand, and have a “bi” but the samr result happens. No need for DWP and treatment of the workless as work shy, as I know the one is not the same as the other!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Sep '21 - 10:24pm

    I am by the way, only ex Labour Peter, Liberal Democrat for seventeen years!

  • @Joe Bourke: “A guaranteed minimum income is not wholly universal. It applies to taxpayers (in the form of a tax credit) and those eligible for benefits by virtue of having no other sources of income.

    OK, that makes more sense, but doesn’t that mean the terminology in the article is incorrect? In the article, you clearly describe the proposals as a Universal Basic Income. (UBI). I’m pretty sure the accepted meaning of UBI is an income that’s payed to everyone (irrespective of existing income)

  • Peter Martin 16th Sep '21 - 3:56am

    “And there’s nothing about a ubi that makes anyone more poor”

    You’re saying a UBI makes everyone better off? If something sounds too good to be true then it almost certainly is! The under 25s would be worse off for a start under most plans which exclude them.

    It is being sold as a way of helping the poor, but Milton Friedman, an early UBI advocate, who could do basic arithmetic wrote:

    “if enacted as a substitute for the present rag bag of measures directed at the same end, the total administrative burden would surely be reduced.”

    And the “rag bag of measures” he would hope to eliminate?

    “direct welfare payments and programs of all kinds, old age assistance, social security, aid to dependent children, public housing, veterans’ benefits, minimum-wage laws, and public health programs, hospitals and mental institutions.”

    I know you and other Lib Dems will say your UBI won’t be like Milton Friedman’s UBI. The problem is that it won’t be your party that implements it. You’ll be used to promote the idea as a left wing progressive cause but that will be the end of your involvement. We know what will happen afterwards.

  • SomonR,

    the fringe presentation is being delivered by the UBI Center.
    They define UBI an unconditional cash payment given to every member of society.
    “UBI is a policy concept that prioritizes universality over targeting and means-testing, unconditionality over conditions like work requirements, and cash over in-kind benefits like food stamps. Policy features like the UBI’s amount, how it’s funded, interaction with other government programs, whether the amount varies by age, and accessibility to immigrants are open questions that we believe warrant research and debate.”

    Precisely what form of UBI will be adopted as Liberal Democrat Policy is yet to be determined. Guaranteed minimum income (GMI), is a social-welfare system that guarantees all citizens or families an income sufficient to live on, provided that certain eligibility conditions are met, typically: citizenship; a means test; and either availability to participate in the labor market, or willingness to perform community services. The primary goal of a guaranteed minimum income is reduction of poverty. In circumstances when citizenship is the sole qualification, the program becomes a universal basic income system.
    My view is that some form of GMI would be a more pragmatic initial broadly revenue neutral first step towards welfare reform.

  • Peter Martin,

    Milton Friedman set out his reasoning for a negative income tax in his 1962’s Capitalism and Freedom. He argued that a “negative income tax”—essentially a UBI—would help overcome a mindset where citizens aren’t inclined to make sacrifices if they don’t believe others will follow suit. “We might all of us be willing to contribute to the relief of poverty, provided everyone else did.”
    This paper explores his reasoning in more detail https://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/thorne15/files/2015/03/Cole-Milton-Friedman-on-Income-Inequaity.pdf
    The preamble to the LibDem constitution explains why there is widespread support for a UBI among party members:
    “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives”.

  • Peter Martin 17th Sep '21 - 12:58am

    @ Joe,

    “We might all of us be willing to contribute to the relief of poverty, provided everyone else did.”

    Or we might not.

  • Peter Martin 17th Sep '21 - 1:02am

    @ Joe,

    Meant to add this this link. There are lots of similar studies which are easily found if you Google the key words.

    https://startsat60.com/media/lifestyle/relationships/poor-people-more-likely-to-give-more-to-charity-than-rich-people

  • benjamin d weenen 18th Sep '21 - 7:26pm

    Rather than get to the root of economic injustice, our current system of tax and benefits merely mitigates it. It solves nothing while saddling our economy with a multitude of deadweight costs, shrinking growth, ultimately hurting us all.

    Requiring landowners to compensated those they exclude, is in principle the same as asking employers to compensate their workers. In both cases a loss of opportunity has occurred.

    In a civilised society, the full rental value of land would be collected and returned as an equal share to every citizen.

    Well done Joe Bourke for keeping the flame of a just and prosperous society alight.

  • Good article in the UBICenter for those interested in LVT and basic income https://www.ubicenter.org/uk-lvt

  • Peter Martin 21st Sep '21 - 10:54am

    @ “benjamin d weenen”

    “In a civilised society, the full rental value of land would be collected and returned as an equal share to every citizen.”

    Is this a pitch for the Nationalisation of all land without compensation? If not, I’d be interested to know how the “full value” can be extracted from landowners. There would be no point in owning any land if all its value went back to the State. A LVT would divide up part of the value, or the annual income derived from the land, between the owners and the State but even so this would affect the land’s market value.

    This could be expected to be halved if half of the potential income went to the State for example.

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    New Zealand deal is worth between -.01 and +0.1 to the economy and puts farmers across the UK at a disadvantage which is especially worrying in places such as N...
  • Jeff
    Roland 21st Oct '21 - 7:34pm: …with the current downward pressure on oil consumption, we can expect there to be a glut of oil in the world market i...
  • nigel hunter
    Free trade is fine as long as 'the little guy' is not gobbled up by the giants.UK food production has to be protected.WW2 showed us that in times of trouble we ...
  • Roland
    @Phil Beesley - "Starting with simple ideas, the UK will consume fossil fuels for many years. After we’ve (We=UK) stopped burning the stuff, we’ll still ...