Philip Hogg, of Homes for
Scotland, is right to be worried about the shortage of housing in Scotland (Letters, 21 January), but have he and his organisation not read the several depositions to the Land Reform Review Group and gleaned the real underlying cause of the problem: the availability of land on which to build the much-needed “bricks and mortar”?
Several contributors, including myself, have pointed out the major issue in this context that has plagued Scotland for centuries and is still not being addressed by either the Labour Party or the SNP: the virtual monopoly cabal of private land tenure that renders Scotland the country with the greatest concentration of land in the fewest number of private landowners in Europe, if not the world.
This is, in effect, hoarding of a fixed-supply resource that was not man-made and because of this had no production costs and consequently has no capital value whatsoever. The only value land has is a totally societally created desirability factor, its potential rental value.
This land rental value was the basis of the “bankster”-led speculation that drove us into recession, and its virtual monopolisation by sectional vested interests will keep us there for some time, until the next cycle of boom and bust it engenders gets on the go.
To avoid a repeat, to resolve the housing crisis highlighted by Mr Hogg and, indeed, to reinvigorate the national economy, we need to replace depressive taxation on labour and enterprise with a 100 per cent collection of this land rental value as the basis of public revenue.
As Disraeli pointed out, all the great issues of politics eventually boil down to the ownership of land, and the housing crisis is no different. Will the Land Reform Review Group and, indeed, Scotland’s political class, “get it” this time?