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That's put the cat among the pigeons…

Thursday, December 7, 2017 6:10
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When the Guardian or the Daily Mail publish something a bit edgy (judged by their readers’ standards), they usually block comments, which The Daily Mail did for this article:

As UK land value hits 5 trillion pounds, calls for new tax rise

Land is Britain’s most valuable asset, increasing more than fivefold since 1995, the country’s statistics office said on Tuesday, prompting calls to introduce a new tax to curb a soaring housing market driven by rising land prices.

To my pleasant surprise, they allow three organisations to put in a favourable word for LVT (New Economics Foundation who are left-wing, the Institute for Economic Affairs who are right-wing and Shelter who are bleeding heart liberals) and no comments from Home-Owner-Ist organisations.

The underlying ONS statistics are most interesting, and illustrate why having a general wealth tax is completely pointless.

The net value of financial assets and liabilities is, unsurprisingly, plus/minus nothing, so not worth taxing. Firstly because financial assets are already taxed anyway (tax on interest income and inflation), and if you did impose a wealth tax on them as well, the corollary is you’d have to allow liabilities as a deduction, which encourages gearing and leveraging, which is part of what causes the problem in the first place.

You can go down the list and eliminate pretty much everything else for similar reasons, for practicalities if nothing else.

That leaves bare land (excluding actual buildings thereon), which makes up (by ONS measurement) more than half of total ‘wealth’, as the only major category worth taxing (doesn’t depreciate, relatively easy to value and can’t be shifted abroad).


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