Monday 4 November 2013

Reader's Letter Of The Day

From the FT:
Queen Bess was the first Georgist (1)
Sir, In your report Taxpayers to lose out over 'Crossrail effect' on property" (October 29) you quote transport expert Christian Wolmar as saying: "In the UK we've never developed a sophisticated way of capturing that added value."
The system was developed and introduced hundreds of years ago by Queen Elizabeth I and was known as Poor Rates, an early or simplified form of land value tax and the direct precursor of Agricultural Rates, Domestic Rates (both phased out long ago) and Business Rates (still in existence).
It is worth noting that Poor Rates were used to finance a very basic welfare system, thus making her the first Georgist!
The beauty of land value tax is that there is no need to establish exactly why rental values go up or down or to correlate it to particular amenities, whether provided by the government, natural features or the general benefits of "location, location, location".
But in the case of Crossrail, it is worth noting that the resulting rental value uplift on the eastern end of Oxford Street alone, if captured by land value tax, would be sufficient to cover a half the costs of the entire Crossrail project.(2)
Mark Wadsworth, Treasurer, Young People's Party, Buckhurst Hill, Essex
1) They accompanied the letter with a picture of Henry George, with the caption "Henry George was an American writer, politician and political economist"
2) Workings here.

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