Don’t fear ‘Garden Tax’ – Land Value Tax is a good idea

I’ve written before that housing, property prices, land rights and so on are a big chuffing catastrophe for a lot of people in the UK, more so the young and property-less more than anyone else. For example, I couldn’t read the whole of ‘All that is solid’ by Danny Dorling because it just ended up making me really sad. I even blogged about this occasionally to a small audience of weirdos. (And I ask you – is there a higher calling?)

I felt simultaneously annoyed and compelled to write something about the news (specifically in the Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express, Star) popping up slamming what they choose to call the called ‘Garden Tax’ announced in the Labour manifesto for the just-around-the-corner general election… but it’s not.

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Land Value Tax

Land monopoly is not the only monopoly, but it is by far the greatest of monopolies — it is a perpetual monopoly, and it is the mother of all other forms of monopoly…Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains—and all the while the landlord sits still.”


That was what Winston Churchill said about Land Value Tax in 1909. But what is it and why should I care?

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Charter of the Forest

In our topsy-turvy, contemporary society, have you ever stopped to wonder about your turbary rights? What about your pannage, estover and agistment rights? In this post, we turn to the cutting edge legal document of 1217, ‘The Charter of the Forest’ or ‘Carta de Foresta’. You might know the Magna Carta as a document that started to establish human rights as we know them today, but the Charter of the Forest arguably did more for the common man; and as is the case with these kinds of things, helps inform our view of planning law and land rights today. Who owns the land, why and what are they allowed to do with it?

image - St Johns College Oxford

image – St Johns College Oxford

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Ecological Land Co-operative

“We believe that the creation of sustainable rural livelihoods is one of the best solutions to our most pressing environmental and social problems…The Ecological Land Co-operative has been set up to buy land that has been, or is at risk of being, intensively managed and lease it to people that have the skills to manage it ecologically and would not otherwise be able to afford do so.”



They have recently got their first planning permissions off the ground (for three affordable smallholdings), and for the benefit of the likes of us, they’ve done a really good job of documenting the nitty gritty details of the process. Read on for more…

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