This above 30-minute has been commissioned by the Coalition for Economic Justice and was premiered at the RSA in London on 3 September 2013. A panel discussion followed the screening. On the panel were,

Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Business Secretary of State and President of ALTER, who spoke about the ideals of LVT as a sensible tax shift and also as a driver for the economy;

Molly Scott-Cato, Finance Speaker for the Green Party and Professor of Green Economics at Roehampton University who discussed the value of community planning decisions and how LVT could support that model;

Director of the Tax Justice Network John Christensen who discussed the facts that most economists agree with LVT and;

Yoni Higgismith, the Director & Producer of the film.

You can hear the 30 minute panel discussion below.

[audio http://www.andywightman.com/audio/Roehampton_University_LVT_Discussion_September_2013.mp3]

See The Taxing Question of Land for further details.

32 Comments

  1. Sadly, the age old self-destruct button of the concept has been pressed; calling it a tax, when it is not a tax. In fact the collection of the true and only value that land has; its Rental Value is a way of relieving us of the burden of taxation on income from labour and the capital value of bricks & mortar or other improvements, all de facto forms of State robbery. Land has no capital value whatsoever as neither God or the Big Bang had any production costs and neither issued any invoices to the first or subsequent occupiers. Land Rental Value is 100% a product of societal demand, not the owners of the deed title. A collection rate of 100% is thus entirely fair and since land cannot be hidden or transferred it wpuld be 100% unavoidable.

    Reply

    • As ever, Ron hits the nail on the head!
      If we keep calling it Land Value Tax then ‘land rental value charge’ will gain no traction with the unthinking public, and will consequently fail to win recognition or favour with the political classes.

      LVT is a dead duck as an alternative to other taxes, until we start to call it something else, which makes it clear that, as RG says, it is NOT a tax. What to call it though? – a thorny problem.

      Here’s my stab for starters, Community Locational Index Charge – or CLIC for short.

      Any advance?

      Reply

  2. To whom is this LVT paid? If to the government, it is a TAX, pure and simple and not a euphemistic Land Value Rental.

    Reply

    • LVT or Site Rental Value (SRV) is a form of public revenue and is usually paid to local government. In straightforward political science terms, it is a tax. But it is in fact the payment of what classical economists term “economic rent“.

      Because economic rent is a product of the natural scarcity of land, in classical economics, it belongs to the community because it is derived from the value attributed to any parcel of land by the community. In that sense it is not a tax because it is does not belong to the landowner in the first place.

      Economic rent is now substantially privatised and the recipients of economic rent (rentiers) have grown rich on the proceeds of what should belong to all of us. Unpicking this unfortunate situation poses challenges but is worthy.

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    • Bemused: Rubbish. You pay parking fees to local government for a specific use of land for a specific amount of time, but it is not a tax and someone earning £40,000 pa is not asked to pay twice as much as someone earning £20,000 any more than they are for hiring the same grade of room in a hotel. You do not seem to have paid any attention to the contents of the film, but you do confirm the folly of calling it a tax.

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    • Bemused,
      If you are living on a parcel of land in a hovel of a house and paying £5,000 pa as the Land Rental Value and ,while you live in the hovel, you write a series of novels about a boy wizard who goes to wizard school and that gets you a £50 million movie franchise and you then use that to upgrade the hovel to a mansion——-the Land Rental Value still remains at £5000pa as LRV would replace imposts on labour and improvements as the source of public revenue. Or would you prefer to pay 40 or 50% income tax on the £50 million?

      Reply

  3. You have not answered my question – to whom would I pay your proposed LRV? If to the government, it is a tax – pure and simple.
    Reur question, I do not wish to pay any tax – QED

    Reply

  4. Why do I see Socialism writ large on this proposal? Or is it Marxism? Or even Stalinism?

    Reply

    • Whatever it is, it is certainly absolutely, categorically and definitely NOT one of the above.

      Reply

    • There is a difference between the State and Society, though socialists in particular tend to forget that. Right now the State arbitarily decides to appropriate private income at a % rate it decides, purportedly to provide revenue for public expenditure. With LRV, imposts on private labour cease and public revenue is collected by the attainment of the rental value created by society as a whole and not individual private landowners. The collection of LRV to replace income tax is dependent on private ownership of land and thus is the antithesis of socialism/ Stalinism, as a landlord cannot collect rent from himself and all individuals retain the totality of the benefit of their own labour . Totalitarianism defeated at a stroke.

      Reply

  5. I agree with Ron. It is a rent payable on the space that you choose to occupy. It encourages you to occupy only what you need, not what you want. It has nothing to do with what you choose to do with your life.

    It is not a socialist idea, although it is the case that it was the Tories who gave us income tax, which effectively seeps people’s enthusiasm for working, is much harder to collect, and is paid disproportionately by those on lower wages.

    You could be paying this to your local authority, not necessarily to the government, although, obviously, they are all connected, directly or indirectly.

    Reply

    • Thanks Victor, I think ‘Bemused’ is encountering ‘ the simplicity of the enormity and the enormity of the simplicity problem’ often met by newcomers to the concept.

      Reply

  6. I believe the success of hong kong was due to there being a land rental tax there and no income tax.
    All arranged by a scot of course.

    Reply

    • glad you’ve come in on this one Hector as it would be useful to have your thoughts on the farmer in the film’s views on the potential of the concept to bring in new entrants.

      Aye, if only we could apply the same Scottish verve here in Scotland the way we did in Hong Kong. With land reform, we could do it yet.

      Reply

  7. Ron, the flaw in your parking space and hotel room analogies is that, in these cases, you’re paying for the use of someone else’s property.

    When you have to pay for the use of your *own* property, then that’s a tax.

    Whatever the merits or demerits of LVT (LRV) may be, I don’t think pretending it’s something it’s not helps sell it to Joe Public as a matter of practical politics.

    Reply

    • No Neil!

      My response to RG’s first comment above re-posted here as relevant to your comment:

      As ever, Ron hits the nail on the head!
      If we keep calling it Land Value Tax then ‘land rental value charge’ will gain no traction with the unthinking public, and will consequently fail to win recognition or favour with the political classes.

      LVT is a dead duck as an alternative to other taxes, until we start to call it something else, which makes it clear that, as RG says, it is NOT a tax. What to call it though? – a thorny problem.

      Here’s my stab for starters, Community Locational Index Charge – or CLIC for short.

      Any advance?

      Reply

      • Indeed Andrew, as Confucius one pointed out, the solution to problems begins with calling things by their correct names and what is in concept here is collecting a societally created value on land as the basis of public revenue—-and it is not a tax.

        Reply

    • The Land Rental Value is not my” property’ it is created by society as a whole. I would not be paying for my personal use of my own property or any economic activity carried out on it—-that’s the point.

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      • Well you see, now you’ve lost me Ron.

        Why don’t you just simplify the argument down to “Let’s face it, nobody (apart from a few nut jobs who live out in the mountains of Wyoming) is so naive as to believe we can live without taxes. But instead of paying Income Tax, VAT (etc.) as at present, we advocate paying a single new tax called Land Value Tax. This is much better and fairer because …” [you fill in the rest]

        Just saying …

        Reply

        • Yes, we can kive without taxes to raise public revenue, we just replace them with collecting the societally created LRV. Vast fortunes are already being made by private sectional interests by doing so. Have you actually watched the film? How do you think land hoarders who do nothing with the land they own are making money simply by holding on to it? Since land had no production costs and therefor has no capital value, what value are they raking in?
          Mayb some nut jobs in the City will come up with an idea to expropriate the value of personal and corporate labour at an arbitary rate, as the basis of public, revenue and expect no avoidance or external transfer of the whilst they buy up land and make money from speculating on its societally created value. We’ll never end up being £ 1.5 trillion in debt doing that, will we!?

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        • google ‘Fred Harrison World War III ‘ and get an inkling of what’s really afoot.

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    • Perhaps you are still conflating the two elements that make up ‘property’; these are the bricks&mortar element( or other anthropogenic improvements) and the land it/they stand on.

      The first element has a capital value, because it was created by anthropogenic activity and is not in fixed supply. The land on the otherhand is in fixed supply and was made, without production costs by either Divine agency, or the stochastic processes following the Big Bang, and consequently has no capital value. Since zero cannot be multiplied to produced an integer or a multiple thereof, it is not possible to increase the capital value of land.
      The only value land has is its desirability as perceived by society as a whole and the film points this out very well in its diagram cartoon. It is possible to increase the capital value of bricks and mortar, but under the old rates system one was ‘punished’ for any improvements carried out. Under the income tax regime, both individual and corporate labour is ‘punished’ by aribitary State expropriation ( tax). Any kind of sales tax ‘punishes’ sales and therefor manufacture and exchange of goods. These are all measures that depress economic activity and maintain recessionary conditions—hardly what we need at present.
      Unlike taxation of labour or sales, the collection of LRV cannot possibly lead to less land being produced and there is no opportunity for avoidance/ evasion, even by becoming a nondom. So with LRV we are presented with a way to ascertain a public revenue supply whilst, through the reduction/removal of taxes on labour and production stimulate anti-recessionary economic activity.

      Reply

  8. Neil, that’s exactly right. Most people couldn’t care less about the theoretical semantics, and are happy to accept the need to pay tax in some form. But they do care a great deal about the amount of money they have to pay to the state being decided fairly. Getting a basic understanding of LVT out into the public demain is what matters, not the acronym.

    Reply

    • Bernie: No it is not a matter of semantics. A bulldozer and a Rolls Royce are both vehicles with an internal combustion engine that can get you down the road to a destination. The bulldozer has helped us dig a giant hole for ourselves. It’s time to stop digging in front of us and filling in behind.
      ‘Tax’ has become a 3 letter word for ‘bad’ in common parlance and psychology. Opponents of LRV will use that against the concept and indeed have done so since the beginning of the 20th century. Proponents of the concept who use the T word, face both the prospect of Joe Public doing the equivalent of putting their hands over their ears and shouting ‘blah, blah, bloody tax blah’ and having by paragraph 2 of their discriptor document having to say something like ‘oh, but it’s not really a tax at all’.

      It is land rental value that it is being collected, not a tax, and it offers the prospect of ending income tax. That’s why I keep referring to it as Land Rental Value Collection, because that is what it is and it offers ‘3 nights and a Sunday double time’ and an attic conversion free of income tax and an increase in rates.

      Reply

    • Bernie,
      What would you think a fair % State expropriation of your individual labour would be; would 19.5% be too low, 20.5% too high and 20% just right? Why not 99% to the State and 1% pocket money and some food vouchers? My contention is that the individual should retain 100% of the value of their labour and 100% of LRV, created 100% by society, should be returned to the society that created it, as public revenue, instead of being creamed off, as at present by a virtual land monopoly cabal of sectional vested interests for basically doing nothing but owning land.

      Reply

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