Time for a Sea Change: UK Business Secretary Vince Cable
The drumbeats for land value tax are louder in the United Kingdom, and coming from all corners of the nation. As UrbanTools has reported on several occasions over the past year, land value tax is being mooted by a veritable rainbow of the political and economic spectrum.
The latest very good news is that Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary in the coalition government has clearly come out for a serious policy debate about the introduction of a national land value tax. Mr. Cable made the statement at the Action for Land Taxation and Economic Reform conference this week in Glasgow (a long time garrison of land value tax policy).
Most media outlets NOT based in London gave fair and balanced coverage to the issue, perhaps at last overcoming the land speculation mad Home Counties' objections.
With active support from Lib Dems, Labour, the Green party and some Conservatives, even the semi-unbalanced spin from the Daily Telegraph (a traditional organ of the landed sector) seems like the start of a last-ditch by the land barons of Britain, especially when the Financial Times have fought useless property appreciation and pushed land value tax with bulldog pluck.
Why is this issue now coming back to the fore? George Osborne the Chancellor of the Exchequer has since the economic disaster of 2008 pushed austerity budgets coupled with low interest rates. The problem, as elsewhere in the world is that the cash generated by these policies this not go into building manufacturing or supporting business and wage earners but has been dumped instead into a new spiral of land value appreciation. Not again!
Replication of the centuries-old boom and bust cycle cannot be considered a victory while wages contract, employment remains stagnant, and manufacturing (the bit of the economy that helps everyone), struggles.
Even the Daily Mail (always an enthusiastic supporter of the status quo) gingerly notes that the transition from the low interest rate environment to one of high land appreciation and higher interest rates will perhaps lead to 30,000 homeowners out on the street. Breaking eggs to make an omelette, we suppose.
"Britain is on the right track" has become a hoary political cliché in UK politics, but the government first ought to get Britons off the rack.