Author Archives: Tony Vickers

Targets aren’t policies – the flawed Liberal Democrat position on homes and planning

The “Building Communities” motion last autumn left us with a target of 380,000 new homes a year, despite opposition from ALDC and most of the Party hierarchy. The grassroots, especially the young, don’t trust their colleagues who have to work with government at all levels.

Targets like this are gestures that discredit our radical tradition. They are not policies and they are bound to fail unless a Party has policies that can deliver them. Noticeably none of the policies in the motion were opposed. Just the target.
The national housing target merely “feeds the beast” that is the cartel of national homebuilders and speculative landowners, in combination with lenders who between them kill our real economy. I began my working life 50 years ago as a chartered builder working for one of them. I wondered why housing site construction always made a loss until the regional manager took me aside at a training function and said: “Tony, we make all our money on land deals.” So began my inyerest in land economics.

“Investment” in a finite natural resource simply hands over wealth created by entrepreneurs and workers, to be locked up in bank balances as unearned gains. Legalised theft. It inflates the balance sheets of large companies that plunder and speculate at our expense. That wealth needs to be re-invested in things society needs, not in pandering to greed.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 29 Comments

Fairer Share and local government finance

It was very disappointing that a motion calling for a Proportional Property Tax (PPT) to replace Council Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax and “Bedroom Tax” was rejected for debate a second time at this Spring Conference 2021. It represents a big step towards Land Value Taxation (LVT), which ALTER helped Sir Vince Cable retain within the last three Tax Commission policy papers – all passed overwhelmingly. It has a much greater chance of gaining cross-party support than LVT. Under this Government, it might even see the Statute Book, since most support seems to come from “Red Wall” Tory MPs in hard-up northern regions.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 40 Comments

Why we need a residential Landowners’ Levy

There are two motions for debate at Brighton that I particularly welcome, as founder member of ALTER and campaigner on Land Value Taxation (LVT) for 20+ years. There’s the one on Commercial Landowners Levy (F26), which is based on an excellent paper by four esteemed experts in our Party. Then there’s F34 “Promoting a Fairer Distribution of Wealth”.

Having read both motions, I was unhappy that F34 failed to match the combination of thorough research and analysis in F26 and also falls short on radical policy proposals to address the main cause of wealth inequality: the so-called Land Question. As a …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Why fear this tax?

Our last Manifesto included a commitment to “reform business rates, creating a fairer system where rates are based on site values rather than rental values. “Site Value Rating” (SVR – a purely local tax) had been party policy for decades but until 2010 never made it to a manifesto. The Party had never embraced a Land Value Tax (LVT) as a key part of our national economic policy.

Since the debt-fuelled property boom led to the present global financial crisis there have been statements in support of LVT from leading figures in all the other parties. Tory Planning Minister Nick …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 27 Comments

Opinion: Lo-Tax for the Lib Dems

landRaising the tax-free personal allowance is the Lib Dems’ headline contribution to this Government – so popular that the Tories are trying to claim it as theirs! But when Danny Alexander said that our next manifesto should include a promise to raise and peg the personal allowance to the National Minimum Wage (almost £13,000) he was setting his tax policy working group a challenge: to find £12bn a year from elsewhere.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies this isn’t progressive. Highest earners and others benefit, while …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 38 Comments

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 …

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Where for Land Value Tax after conference vote?

A week after the Lib Dem Conference debate on “Green Tax Switch Mark 2”, how does our tax policy look from an ALTERnate perspective (i.e. not Chris Rennard’s)? Well, I’ve almost sold out of my book’s first printing (would someone like to post a review on Amazon?) and most LVT supporters who were there agree that having Vince Cable claim membership of ALTER and fulsome support for its aims in his summating speech was worth more than any show of hands in the conference hall.

Even Arnie Gibbons, who until recently used to move away – or mutter most foul – on hearing any discussion at Conference about Land Tax, was quite nice about us. We are accepted in polite circles – well Liberal ones anyway.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 2 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems must support LVT

I’ve been asked to preview the conclusions and argument for my book Location Matters: Recycling Britain’s Wealth here. If you subscribe to Liberator or Challenge (the Green Lib Dems’ journal) you will get reviews by others of the book before Conference. In the current Challenge you will also see a piece by me about how the Liberal Democrats’ Tax Commission got in such a depressingly non-radical place with Land Value Taxation (LVT) – which is what my book is about.

What I want to do here is explain the conception of the book, its purpose and what I hope happens next. But first, as requested, in a single sentence: conclusions and arguments. If the Liberal Democrats do not go into the next General Election campaign with a pledge to retain some form of nation-wide property tax at the same time as scrapping Council Tax, they will have betrayed their forebears and – more importantly – future generations of British people and will not deserve the support of voters.

Posted in Books, Conference and Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • David Garlick
    Many join the Public sector as they feel that is a way of providing a public service which they prefer to making money for private sector employers. Govt's and...
  • Robin Stafford
    We have a government and to significant extent a public that despises service to the public, believing that self service for personal reward in the private sec...
  • Siv White
    Is GDP just a measure of consumerism?...
  • John Leach
    Did somebody say "Get Brexit Done"? How's that going, eh?...
  • Mick Taylor
    Steve Trevethan. Actually, it's the central bank that creates the money and credits it to the government's account, but apart from that you sum up the case for ...