DCSIMG

Tax the land

It IS encouraging that your three correspondents agree rising house prices are a fool's paradise (Letters, 5 August).

How absurd that rampant inflation in the price of such a fundamental necessity as a place to live should be seen as a good economic indicator. That was the fallacy that led us to the present crisis - will we never learn?

Ron Greer offers the correct analysis and provides the answer in the form of an annual charge on the rental value of land. It is the land, not the bricks and mortar, that is the volatile element in the property market.

The Scottish Office considered land value taxation as an option in 1998 when its Land Reform Policy Group produced a report in readiness for action by the new Scottish Parliament. It noted that the result would be a "fall in value of property for current owners", but, perversely, it listed this as the prime disadvantage. What a difference a decade makes.

Land values are publicly generated. They are a measure of the comparative public demand for different sites, and are further enhanced by the provision of public services and infrastructure. Rather than being allowed to haemorrhage into private pockets, these values should be recycled into the public purse to provide a huge source of revenue, allowing scope for massive reductions in the deadweight taxes that currently stifle industry and enterprise.

JOHN DIGNEY

Lochard Road

Aberfoyle, Perthshire

 
 
 

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