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Bbc: Whose Britain Is It Anyway?

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The BBC will be screening: "Whose Britain is it anyway?" on 10th Jan, 9pm BBC2.

It is an investigation by Peter and Dan Snow into who exactly owns Britain.

Peter Snow talks about it with Andrew Marr here:

BBC Listen Again

Quite an interesting discussion giving information well known to those who frequent this forum about the scandal of land ownership in the UK.

I suspect Peter Snow has read the book: "Who owns Britain" available at a library near you.

(Edited to show date/time of programme).

Edited by Tester

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The BBC has a programme coming soon: "Whose Britain is it anyway?"

It is an investigation by Peter and Dan Snow into who exactly owns Britain.

Peter Snow talks about it with Andrew Marr here:

BBC Listen Again

Quite an interesting discussion giving information well known to those whoe frequent this forum about the scandal of land ownership in the UK.

I suspect Peter Snow has read the book: "Who owns Britain" available at a library near you.

With regard to the book "Who Owns Britain" the following information:

For Britain, Cahill analyses this landownership, showing how a tiny minority exploits British society. 160,000 families, 0.3% of the population, own 37 million acres, two thirds of Britain, 230 acres each. Just 1,252 of them own 57% of Scotland. They pay no land tax. Instead every government gives them £2.3 billion a year and the EU gives them a further £2 billion. Each family gets £26,875.

By contrast, 57.5 million of us pay £10 billion a year in council tax, a land tax, £550 per household. We live in 24 million homes on about four million acres. 65% of homes are privately owned, so 16 million of us own just 2.8 million acres, an average 0.18 acres each.

The top landowners are the Forestry Commission, 2.6 million acres, the Ministry of Defence 750,000, the royal family 670,000 (including the Crown Estate 400,000 and the Duchy of Cornwall 141,000), the National Trust 550,000, insurance companies 500,000, the utility companies 500,000, the Duke of Buccleuch 270,700, the National Trust for Scotland 176,287, the Dukedom of Atholl 148,000, the Duke of Westminster 140,000 and the Church of England 135,000.

The Forestry Commission, Britain's biggest single landowner, runs its holdings conservatively and secretively. We could expand the forest estate by a million acres a year, producing rural jobs, getting profits from the sale of wood and pulp (cutting our balance of payments deficit) and reducing the output of greenhouse gases. This would cost between £588 million and £750 million.

Through the 18th century enclosures, the landowning class stole eight million acres from the people. They still hide their crimes and their takings. The 1872 Return of Owners of Land was made, but then hidden and never updated. Shares have to be registered; land doesn't. The Land Registry does not know who owns between 30 and 50% of land.

Cahill compares Britain with other countries where revolutions have ended the feudal tenure of land. Denmark redistributed its land to the peasantry in 1800. In Ireland, in 1876, 616 landowners owned 80% of the country. By 1930, 13 million acres of Ireland's 20 million acres had been sold to owner-occupiers. Now, there are no landlords - home ownership is 82%, Ireland's 149,500 farms are 97% owner-occupied and owner-farmed, there is no poll tax, water is free and pensioners get free transport, TV and glasses.

Cahill claims that Blair's reform of the House of Lords "definitively cut the permanent link between power and the landowners." But just as in 1872, the state is defending landed capital by making it less visible. Class power does not depend on sitting in the House of Lords, but on private ownership of the means of production, protected and subsidised by a capitalist state. The Greens, like the heritage lobby, shield the landowners against public ownership of the land.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says its mission is to shift EU subsidies from food production to land management, but the EU already does this, with its £2 billion annual subsidy to the landowners, not to working farmers. We need to produce our own food: food production is in our national strategic interest. It is a national security issue that must not be determined either by the EU or by the market.

Landowners' wealth is a parasite on Britain, the least productive part of the economy, with the most state support. Their wealth comes not from farming, nor even from renting, but from trickling land onto the urban housing market. They sell land to property developers, at an average price per acre of £404,000 in 1999. The clearing banks and building societies strip our industries of investment capital, then support their clients the landowners by running the rigged and overpriced land market.

Britain needs land reform. "Windfall gains on development land should be made subject to windfall taxes." We should also tax land and stop the owners avoiding tax through offshore trusts; this could raise £17 billion. The European Convention of Human Rights says there should be no confiscation without compensation. Haven't landowners had enough compensation already? We need more land for housing. This would cut land prices, free more to invest in good quality, spacious homes and gardens, and revive the building industry.

I never know what to think when these programmes and books talk about where the real power lies.

Mind you it has reminded me of an item on the Mark Thomas Comedy Product where I think it was claimed that people with exceptionally large houses could have them put on a list as being 'open to the public' but they were under no obligation to advertise the fact that the houses were open to the public but by doing this they were exempted from income tax or something?

Anyway Mark Thomas decided to try to find out which houses were on this list under the freedom of information act but was told they could not do give him the information because it related to individual inland revenue accounts and that information was not in the public domain.

So his point was these people get a tax break just because they have a nice big house and they don't have to tell anyone that the house is open to the public and the inland revenue can't tell you which houses are open to the public.

Does anyone know any more about this or if this is still the case?

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Britain needs land reform. "Windfall gains on development land should be made subject to windfall taxes." We should also tax land and stop the owners avoiding tax through offshore trusts; this could raise £17 billion. The European Convention of Human Rights says there should be no confiscation without compensation. Haven't landowners had enough compensation already? We need more land for housing. This would cut land prices, free more to invest in good quality, spacious homes and gardens, and revive the building industry. [/color]

I never know what to think when these programmes and books talk about where the real power lies.

Were the common people, who had the common land confiscated with enclosures, compensated?

Mind you it has reminded me of an item on the Mark Thomas Comedy Product where I think it was claimed that people with exceptionally large houses could have them put on a list as being 'open to the public' but they were under no obligation to advertise the fact that the houses were open to the public but by doing this they were exempted from income tax or something?

Anyway Mark Thomas decided to try to find out which houses were on this list under the freedom of information act but was told they could not do give him the information because it related to individual inland revenue accounts and that information was not in the public domain.

So his point was these people get a tax break just because they have a nice big house and they don't have to tell anyone that the house is open to the public and the inland revenue can't tell you which houses are open to the public.

Does anyone know any more about this or if this is still the case?

I seem to remember something like this, but it referred to works of art - you had to allow people to view works of art in return for a tax break, but you didn't have to advertize the fact, or be particularly accommodating if people wanted to view them. Mark Thomas decided to visit the art collection of some rich guy such as the Duke of Westminster, I think :D

Peter.

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After reading threads like this and realising just how successful the chinese economy is - it makes experimenting with communism seem rather appealing don't you think.

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What has always intrigued me is that this land ownership situation has stayed much the same despite several so called "Socialist" Governments since the end of WW2.

Why? The real power behind the democratic facade?

However I dimly remember a proposal to nationalise building land, in the 70s I think. That never happened of course.

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Just a reminder that this programme screens tomorrow night (Tuesday 10th Jan. 9pm BBC2).

Here's what the TV guide says:

Peter and Dan Snow investigate who owns the UK's 60 million acres of land. They discover that while the Queen can claim ownership of less than one per cent of the country and the Church has sold off much of its land, the Forestry Commission boasts a massive 2.5 million acres and the aristocracy are enjoying generous tax breaks on their estates. Even more surprising is the revelation that half of the land in England and Wales is unregistered

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The BBC will be screening: "Whose Britain is it anyway?" on 10th Jan, 9pm BBC2.

It is an investigation by Peter and Dan Snow into who exactly owns Britain.

Peter Snow talks about it with Andrew Marr here:

No he doesn't, have a listen, there is nothing about it in that programme, there's plenty about Iran, Britishness, Steve Coogan, the orient, war correspondents but certainly nothing about who owns Britain.

It was on last week's show

Edited by BuyingBear

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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