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I have just read Kevin Cahill's Who owns Britain, a book I found recommended on this site.

If you have not read it, read it.

Essentially the book is a history of the titled classes control over land, law making and their ultimate wealth & power. It compared the UK to Ireland, where a redistribution of land followed the potato famine in 1845. In Ireland now, there are no real "landowners" of the scale in the UK. The average farm has about 64 acres and is family owned. As a result of the majority of the population owning the land and political vested interests being less, they pay ZERO council tax and water is free.

The book argues for doubling in the land available for development in the UK with interesting consequences.

Buy it, borrow it, steal it off your landlord. Just read it.

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Guest Charlie The Tramp

Glad you enjoyed the book. Kevin Cahill took 13 years to research it and came up against many barriers. Well now we know why.

Essentially the book is a history of the titled classes control over land, law making and their ultimate wealth & power.

The majority of these landowners were heretery peers who have now been ejected from The House of Lords. :D

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Guest Charlie The Tramp
Surely the Highway's Agency/DVLA (whoever owns the roads) own's the most land in britain?

How many square acres do the roads take up. Look at any Ordnance Survey map, and there is your answer, very little. Some landowners measure their estates in square miles. Read the book, probably obtainable in your local Library. In the last hundred years they sold land off where a lot of housing estates and New Towns stand today, making a fortune on the sales, and just a small dent in their estates. <_<

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Most maps have to exaggerate the width of roads for them to be usefully visible. An aerial photo, or a quick internal flight gives a true picture - roads are very thin.

Anyway, the DVLA is just a govt dept - ie roads must be property of the crown (or whatever govt-owned is called officially).

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Cheers RockDoctor, never thought about it like that. Just thought of the M11 and M25 near me and thought, my, what a lot of ground that covers!

i'll have to read it. Can anybody tell me how the church does in it, or again are they less significant than they seem? Probably big player a hundred yrs or so ago.

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Guest Charlie The Tramp
i'll have to read it. Can anybody tell me how the church does in it, or again are they less significant than they seem? Probably big player a hundred yrs or so ago.

In the 1800`s the Church was a very big player but not so today. A lot of the suburbs around Central London were once owned by the church together with the Oxford Scholars.

The Forestry Commission and The National Trust are now some of the biggest owners of Land.

Has anyone heard of any political party that takes this book seriously?

It is a very touchy political subject, many vested interests were in The Upper House.

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Further to the questions about the church, I believe that much has been sold to invest in more profitable assets. The CoE runs a fair amount of housing near me, and I suspect many other parts of London.

It is incredibly shocking that so much land is essentially unused; as a centre right-winger who thinks that capitalism ain't too bad if properly managed, a monopoly on such a fundamental resource is plain crazy. Dear God, reading this site is depressing at times, even if enlightening...

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I would suugest writing to Prescott about this in the first instance as he is old labour stock, and he may well be cretin but does have real power.

The redistribution of land does seem essential if we want a society that is not beholden to 1000 years of oppression by the upper class. Obviously the government pay them for their land, and sell it to the masses.

How does one go about this without invasion/revolution?

No idea, but popular opinion would be swayed if people realised how much they could gain, however the middle classes have small vested interests now (house) so if the price of land dropped 50% they would feel the pinch initially, although their kids get a stake in our country.

The think I find most offensive is that in two world wars fighing to protect our green & plesant land, 70% of those killled did not even have so much as a blade of grass to call their own.

Now, that is criminal.

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The redistribution of land does seem essential if we want a society that is not beholden to 1000 years of oppression by the upper class. Obviously the government pay them for their land, and sell it to the masses...

No idea, but popular opinion would be swayed if people realised how much they could gain, however the middle classes have small vested interests now (house) so if the price of land dropped 50% they would feel the pinch initially, although their kids get a stake in our country.

Mr. Wapkaplett - I broadly agree with this sentiment, and also find it vile that our parents'/grandparents' generation fought for our freedom only for our land to be unavailable.

However, it is not so much the case that we are beholden to the upper classes in the current set up - we are beholden to banks, existing owners of property, a whole host of corporations, even overseas ones. The silly aristos aren't necessarily all that rich as they have to maintain a lot of old buildings, they are often lazy and foolish, and dependent on EU handouts. They, and we, would be richer if their land was more profitably used, if there was more land available for more housing, industry and commerce etc etc. This does all of course tie in with the CAP, which is a shambles, and successive governments failure to realise that expensive residential property is bad for this country, rather than good.

Still, even if they did make all that land available I am not sure how prices in London would come down!

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The think I find most offensive is that in two world wars fighing to protect our green & plesant land, 70% of those killled did not even have so much as a blade of grass to call their own.

That is sad!

I'm probably going to be tarred and feathered for this (and I don't really want to get into a whole Monerchy pro/con arguement with anyone) but I'm essentially a royalist, I think the Monerchy are a good thing for this country but as for thr rest of the upper classes owning all the land, I'm all for a revolution.

Can we have a class system though? One where the people who do all the work and pay all the taxes get more than the people who scrounge of the rest of us? PLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEE?

I willl say this though, I used to be a wine waiter at a pretty posh place and the upper class people I served there where great! They treatd you blindingly, bouaght you drinks, tipped well, they were polite, it was the upper middle classes that where obnoxious and rude (and tight!)

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Guest Charlie The Tramp
The think I find most offensive is that in two world wars fighing to protect our green & plesant land, 70% of those killled did not even have so much as a blade of grass to call their own.

Now, that is criminal.

As they told the troops who went off to the trenches, you will return to a land fit for heroes, and when the few returned there was no land for them, only more poverty.

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Has anyone heard of any political party that takes this book seriously?

It would be great if could impact on policy, but it still sounds too "underground".

The "fight" back against the land owners has been continuing for as long as there have been the land owners. The diggers, the levellers, the chartists have all tried to get the general populous to care and to take action, but the mass population doesn't seem to care at all. Its very much a "too busy fighting for the scraps under the table" to appreciate what is available on the table. I guess it illustrates that apathy has been with us since the dawn of time.

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On a realistic note, it has been suggested in the past that one way to get the market for land moving would be to levy a small land tax every year, based solely on area.

That way there would be a constant cost to owning land, so you couldn't just acquire a few thousand square kms and sit on them (figuratively speaking), but would need to generate an income.

All sorts of adjastments might be possible - maybe farming land would give an exemption, or the charge could be offset against earned income, but the idea seemed interesting enough to consider.

Has anyone seen this argued through, or knows of some killer loophole that would let the Dook of Westminster keep his millions of acres tax-free?

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The "fight" back against the land owners has been continuing for as long as there have been the land owners. The diggers, the levellers, the chartists have all tried to get the general populous to care and to take action, but the mass population doesn't seem to care at all. Its very much a "too busy fighting for the scraps under the table" to appreciate what is available on the table. I guess it illustrates that apathy has been with us since the dawn of time.

Nope Stats, some things were achieved. Correct me if I am wrong here, but I believe that the Chartists have/had only one outstanding demand and that is for annual elections.

Apathy at present, er yes. No doubts here.

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HOW LAND AFFECTS THE AVERAGE PERSON

Contents:

INTRODUCTION

PROBLEMS

THE UK HAS A LAND SURPLUS

QUESTIONS

PLANNING

SOLUTIONS

1. Nationalise Land

2. Redistribute Land.

3. Land Value Tax

THE WAY FORWARD

INTRODUCTION

The UK has a very big problem that lies at the root of many of its problems;

it is the usage and ownership of "land". Most people are not aware that

land is a big problem that affects just about every man, woman and child in

the UK. This problem has been effectively suppressed.

PROBLEMS

The value of land accounts for 2/3 of the value of the average home in the

UK - a very big problem.

Some points relating to high land prices:

a) House Prices Are Far Too High

The people of the UK pay very high prices for very small high density homes.

UK house prices are amongst the highest in the world in comparison to

comparable countries. The more land is a greater part of the total house

price the higher house prices become. An acre of agricultural land can be

purchased for £2,000, a complete eco kit home for £20,000, yet the average

price of a house in the UK is near to £200,000. Obtaining planning

permission to erect a house in a country with a land surplus will be near

impossible. Few people realise that the high land value is the reason why

their homes are so expensive.

B) High Land Prices Disrupt Family Life

High land values cascading into high house prices entails that both parents

of homes in the vast majority of families need to work to pay mortgages to

keep a very small roof over their heads. Only about 8% of UK families have

the wife at home full time. This breakdown in traditional family life

results in the latch-key kids, who all too often end up as delinquents and

in trouble. Vandalism and graffiti is rife in the UK giving the country a

very poor image.

c) People Priced Out of Housing Market

The problem of not allowing people to build on land is surfacing in parts of

the country where people with low incomes and in some cases not so low, are

being priced out of the housing market. Many cannot afford to live in the

towns, villages and city districts where they were born and brought up,

having to leave splitting family groups. Many of these towns and villages

are surrounded by low grade land which lays idle through public subsidy.

Small builders and individual selfbuilders are eager to build on this land

to fill the local housing gap; however they are prevented from doing so.

This artificial shortage of available building land reduces home ownership.

Home ownership in the UK is at 68% which is lower than Spain, Finland,

Ireland, Greece, Australia and New Zealand and very close to rates in Italy,

Portugal and Luxembourg.

The land is not serving the people. Not only that, it financially penalises

the people.

d) Houses Far Too Small

The averaged sized home in the UK is a paltry 120 square metres. In Japan,

a country notorious for small homes, the average sized home is 140 square

metres. The averaged size living room in the UK is a miniscule 13 foot by

15 foot; a room which has to function as TV room, children's play room,

entertainment room and relaxation room. If the averaged sized man stands in

the middle of a typical British living room and stretched out an arm he will

hit either a wall or ceiling. British TV has many programmes dedicated to

giving a larger feel to a room by careful choice of furnishing and colour

co-ordination.

The housing charity, Shelter, estimate 500,000 households are officially

overcrowded.

e) Consumer Debt Is Mainly Mortgages

The media is full of tales of high consumer debt in the UK. Few state that

80% is actually mortgages, not debt for luxury goods; giving the impression

the people of the UK are financially reckless and decadent. In short,

people pay extortionate amounts for a tiny roof to keep themselves warm and

dry.

f) High Land Prices Discourage Commerce and Industry

High land prices result in high rents, which are passed onto commerce and

industry. Many foreign investors and companies have been discouraged from

establishing in the UK because of uncompetitive rents.

g) People Prevented From Building Affordable Homes

Preventing people from building affordable homes in the countryside forces

them into urban areas where many will be given publicly owned or subsidised

homes, paid for from our taxes. We pay from public money, which could be

better spend on needy projects, to house people who would otherwise pay for

and build their own homes. This is obviously a ludicrous situation.

Taxpayes money keeps land idle and is also used to house people. Better use

can be made of public money.

h) Land is at Root of Traveller Problems

Approximately 300,000 people the UK travel the roads in caravans,

effectively homeless. Some traveller societies, mainly the original

Gypsies, have deep routes and traditions of travelling, most do not. Many

have become a nuisance to the wider society and are firmly unwanted and

unwelcome wherever they set up camp. The root cause that initially forced

theses people onto the roads was access to land to live on. The Irish

travelling communities originated when Ireland's land was owned by a handful

of people forcing these people off the land they lived on. Many of the

travellers in the UK originate from Ireland. Most traveller families want a

permanent place to live. The evictions of Travellers caravans from land

they actually own when attempting a permanent settlement clearly

demonstrates this. If travellers were allowed to build permanent homes the

problem would be alleviated.

- Strange that land can be the root of excessive house prices, however very

true.

- Strange that land can be the root cause of much child and teenage

vandalism, however very true.

- Strange that land can be the root cause of forcing people out of their

home towns and villages, splitting up families, however very true.

- Strange that land can result in homes being far too small, however very

true.

- Strange that land can be the root cause of disrupted families, however

very true.

- Strange that land can discourage business and growth, however very true.

- Strange that land accounts for vast profits by financial institutions

lending money for homes with inflated prices, however very true.

- Strange in that land increases our tax burden on subsidised homes, however

very true.

- Strange in that land created, and maintains, the problem of the

travellers, however very true.

The above is all very true.

THE UK HAS A LAND SURPLUS

Contrary to popular belief, the UK has approximately only 7% of its land

built on. The Urban plot of 4 million acres is only 6.6%. The UK actually

has a surplus of land. Despite claims of concreting over the South East of

England, only 7.1% is built on with the Home Counties being underpopulated.

The North West of England is densest with 9.9% built upon.

Question 1. So why does land account for 2/3 of the value of the average

home, with all the negative spins offs, if we have all this land available?

Quite simply, the deliberate creation of an artificial land shortage, which

ramps up land prices.

Question 2. What creates this artificial land shortage?

The 1947 Town and Country Planning act, introduced by a "Labour" government,

that promised land reform during the 1945 general election, herds people in

small isolated highly dense pockets of land in urban areas. Amazingly the

Labour government allowed the Council for the Protection of Rural England

(CPRE) to be involved in drafting the act. CPRE was formed by large

landowners. They influenced the act to suit themselves. The naïve Labour

administration at the time accepted their input. Over 90% of the population

now live in urbanised areas, the second highest percentage in Europe,

leaving the countryside virtually empty, because of this draconian act.

This crams near 55 million people into around 7% of the land, which is only

4.2 million acres out of a UK total of 60 million acres. 60 million people

own just 6% of the land.

The act prevents us from building on the countryside, even though much of it

is being paid to remain idle by taxpayers money. A countryside that has

lost people at an alarming rate over the past 30 years. The people of the

UK are forced into tight urban pockets paying extortionate prices for land,

and subsequently houses. Their taxes are used to reinforce this bizarre

situation by paying to:

1. Keep land unused to maintain an artificial land shortage inflating house

prices.

2. House people unnecessarily in public funded housing.

This adds insult to injury. A contemptuous slap in the face.

Question 3. Who are the biggest benefactors of this artificial land

shortage?

a) Primarily Large Landowners.

The ludicrously small figure of 0.65% of the UK population own 68.3% of the

land, many are aristocratic families dating back many hundreds of years.

Despite propaganda stating that the British aristocracy is poverty stricken

and exists no more, they have managed to hang on to their lucrative acres

very well, and in many cases expand their empires.

The root of this situation came about from the Norman conquest. The Normans

gave land to people who were favourable to them. In short, many of these

families were traitors to their own kind conspiring with invaders. The

Saxons had a very different approach to land, its ownership and usage.

Later, the enclosures of common lands and the Highland croft clearances

completed the land rout. The situation has never been rectified.

The UK still has this landowning aristocratic legacy, which still, despite

propaganda stating otherwise, has a large effect and influence on the

British people. Large landowners are part of the British establishment and

do everything in their power to keep the status quo. The late Enoch Powel

described the British establishment as "the power that need not speak its

name". A very astute description.

Most of these landowners produce little making their vast profits by taking

rent. When the media reports that times are hard for farmers, they omit the

word "tenant". It should be "tenant farmers". When times are bad the

landowner always gets his rent, or takes the farm back, paying no taxes on

it when idle, and leaves it until times are better.

To justify their monopolies in land ownership, large landowners state they

are only custodians of the land and only they can maintain the land

properly. "Maintaining the land properly" is rather open and vague, if they

ever do such a thing of course. If these people are only custodians and

looking after the land for our benefit, then why aren't the public allowed

on uncultivated land? These "custodians" fence off all their lands and only

allow on people when forced to by law. Their claims clearly do not hold

water.

The UK has never had a revolution and no political party has had the stomach

to face up to large landowners, who are a legacy of our totally unjust past.

Landed families infiltrate the top brass of the military. In the 1960s,

there were many rumours of military coups against the reforming Wilson

government as many in the British establishment thought, amongst other

things, he would nationalise land. After all, in 1945 Atlee promise land

reform, but ran out of time, so Wilson, a major part of the Atlee

government, should carry out the promise when the Labour party returned to

power, which he mysteriously never did.

Tony Blair ejected from the House of Lords 66 hereditary peers, who between

them owned the equivalent of 4.5 average sized English counties. The Royal

family controls approximate the size of one average sized English county.

The Duke of Argyle owns vast tracts of Scotland. Historically landowners

have been a problem; the Irish famine was a direct result of large

landowners. The problem is still with us and in many respects even greater.

With large landowners being omnipresent in the Palace of Westminster, land

reform would always be difficult if near impossible. Tony Blair ejecting

hereditary peers is the first step in land reform, as one barrier has been

partially dismantled.

B) Large Construction Companies.

Approximately 80% of all homes built in the UK are built by about only 20

companies. In no other country in the western world does such a monopoly

exist. The sort of situation seen in banana republics. The House Builders

Federation influences the building regulations so heavily in order to

maintain the status quo that the UK is backwards in house building

technology compared to large parts of Western Europe, Scandinavia and North

America. The House Builders Federation opposes any increase in building

regulations that they perceive will eat into their members vast profits.

They opposed all increases in insulation standards and in 1990 described the

proposed insulation increase as a cosmetic exercise.

Graham Chapman, the founder the Lotus motor car company, wanted to make the

best sports cars, and aimed to do so. Large house developers only want

profit not caring about the poor quality dross they serve up. None want to

build the best designed and constructed houses. As no Graham Chapman is

present in the British construction industry, they will have to be

legislated into leading edge advanced designs and construction.

The deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has verbally ordered developers to

adopt advanced technology and improve the renowned poor quality of new

homes. Otherwise he says he will intervene. However, there is no

legislation to force the issue, although Prescott's famed left hook might.

If there is a change of government or minister would the successor have the

same drive as Prescott? All encouraging, however without firm legislation

as the driver, quite hollow.

It comes as no surprise that amongst the richest people in the UK are

landowners and construction company owners. The richest man in the USA is

Bill Gates a creator of software products that people benefit from - he is

productive, he produces. In the UK, the richest man is the Duke of

Westminster, who primarily takes in rent.

c) A Poor Performing Industry

Far too much land is given over to agriculture, which only accounts for

about 2.5% of the UK economy. This poor performing over subsidised industry

is absorbing land that could be better used economically in commerce and for

much needed higher quality homes for people. Much of the land is paid to

remain idle out of our taxes. The UK could actually abandon most of

agriculture and import most of its food, as food is obtainable cheaper

elsewhere.

The city of Sheffield, a one industry city of steel, was virtually killed by

allowing imports of cheaper steel from abroad. This created great misery

and distress to its large population. Yet agriculture is subsidised to the

hilt having land allocated to it which clearly can be better utilised for

the greater good of our society.

The justification for subsidising agriculture is that we need to eat. We

also need steel and cars in our modern society, yet the auto and steel

industries were allowed to fall away to cheaper competition from abroad.

Should taxpayers money be propping up an economically small industry that

consumes vast tracts of land that certainly could be better used? What is

good for the goose is good for the gander.

The overall agricultural subsidy is about £4.5 billion per year, up to £6

billion if BSE and Foot and Mouth is taken into account. This is £6 billion

to an industry whose total turnover is only £15 billion per annum.

Unbelievable. This implies huge inefficiency in the agricultural industry,

about 40% on the £15 billion figure. Applied to the acres agriculture

absorbs, and about 16 million acres are uneconomic. Apply real economics to

farming and you theoretically free up 16 million acres, which is near 27% of

the total UK land mass.

This is land that certainly could be put to better use for the people of the

UK. Allowing people to spread out and live amongst nature is highly

desirable and at the same time lower land prices. This means lower house

prices which the UK desperately requires. Second country homes could be

within reach of many people, as in Scandinavia, creating large recreation

and construction industries, and keeping people n touch with the nature of

their own country. In Germany few people do not have access to a large

forest which they tend to walk in at weekends. Forests and woods are ideal

for recreation and absorb CO2 cleaning up the atmosphere. Much land could

be turned over to public forests.

Question 4. Why is this artificial land shortage tolerated by the people of

the UK?

Quite simply the large landowners have waged a subtle highly successful

propaganda campaign that has convinced the people of the UK that they do not

have enough land and that nothing should be built on open countryside.

Propaganda may appear too strong a word, however propaganda it certainly is.

Large landowners point to very large countries like the USA and Australia as

proof the UK is small with open countryside scarce. When viewing the UK in

isolation it is not small and can easily support its 60 million people and

even lots more. Open countryside is in abundance. The propaganda campaign

has been so successful, you will find poor people in inner city sink estates

agreeing that the countryside should not be built on; people who probably

have never even stepped on a field.

Emotive terms have been formed and liberally used such as "concreting over

the countryside" and "urban sprawl". With only about 7% of the land built

on, we can't concrete over the countryside even if we wanted to. About two

thirds of all new housing is built within existing urban areas with the

remainder mainly built on the edge of urban areas. Very little is built on

open countryside.

Cities have a natural footprint limit. The generally accepted limit is that

if it takes over an hour to travel from one side to the other its expansion

naturally tails off. In olden times this hour was on foot or on horseback,

now it is in cars or on public transport. So we can't "sprawl" too far

either. In England the area of greenbelt has doubled since 1980, with

nearly 21 million acres absorbed in total. The UK actually has greenbelt

sprawl.

The biggest propaganda organs are: the Council For The Protection of Rural

England and the Countryside Alliance. Green movements like Friends of the

Earth have been accused of being fronts for large landowners. Large

landowners use green groups to keep people out of the countryside. The

former is an organisation formed by large landowners and the latter is

funded by large landowners. Their angle is keep the status quo by keeping

townies out of the countryside, and also keeping villagers in villages. A

Cabinet Office report described the countryside as, "the near exclusive

preserve of the more affluent sections of society."

The Council for the Protection of Rural England have protected little of the

character of the English countryside since world war two, despite their

claims. In 1940 the German air force took photo reconnaissance photos of

largely southern England. The captured photos, when compared to the

ordnance survey maps of 1870, 70 years before, clearly indicated there was

little difference in topology. When compared to the ordnance survey maps of

today, there are vast changes. The 1947 T&C planning act just allowed

landscape raping agriculturalists, who contribute no more than around 2.5%

to the UK economy, to go wild.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England claim to be acting in the

interest of the land, wildlife and the countryside in general. This is far

from the case. It is the obscene profits of large landowners they are

primarily interested in, protecting little of rural England.

PLANNING

Land reform must mesh with decent relaxed planning laws that allow people to

build on all land. Laws passed relating to land are rendered sterile if

relaxed planning laws are not implemented. Areas of natural beauty, SSSI's,

national parks, industrial and commercial sectors etc, of course should have

restrictions, which still leaves a vast amount of subsidised field Britain

to build on. Building on a larger mass of land will eliminate the

unappealing high density, high impact developer estates; the sort that make

people shudder, with many having to buy as they have Hobson's choice. When

people are weary of building on the countryside they envisage high density,

high impact developer estates. The vision of these estates stirs negative

emotions. That clearly would not occur if the people are allowed to spread

out on the land. With cheaper land, people would build larger houses on

larger plots for less money. Having the large developers curtailed will

result in a mixed assortment of higher quality homes.

The autonomous house is virtually here. Superinsulation, septic tanks,

combined heat & power units, grey water re-cycling, rainwater harvesting,

wireless communications, mobile phones, amongst others, are all here. This

sort of house also has a low impact on the environment. Connection to urban

utilities is no longer necessary. Locating homes with all modern

conveniences, just about anywhere in the UK is now feasible. Herding people

into urban communities because they offered basic utilities is no longer

need be the case.

A farmer can build a 40 foot ugly concrete barn structure without planning

permission. The agricultural industry in some areas has blotted the

landscape as far as the eye can see with polythene tunnels to grow fruits of

which some are not native to the UK. If a good looking house was built to

the local vernacular visually enhancing the countryside, without planning

permission, it would be pulled down by the authorities. Houses are deemed

to blot the countryside and undesirable, yet raw concrete and polythene is

not, and is accepted.

We should be living amongst nature, not having to drive out to see it.

Walking on land is another matter, as most of it is fenced off.

"The vast majority of the British people have no right whatsoever to their

native land save to walk the streets or trudge the roads" - Henry George.

Countryside organisations are demanding all city brownfield sites be built

on. We now have an ideal opportunity to leave most of these sites vacant,

cleaned up and made natural again by turned them into parks, woods and

encouraging wildlife for the local people to enjoy. This is an ideal

opportunity to improve brownfield areas, improving the quality of life of

urban dwellers righting the wrongs of the incompetent planners of the past.

Areas like Hampstead Heath should be actively encouraged. Woods in towns

and cities would also be a great bonus. The deliberate differentiation

between town and country requires abolition as the Town & Country planning

act attempts to divide. Using the words town and country sets the tone. It

creates conflict. It creates two separate societies. It creates distrust.

When presenting an advanced German Huf Haus house on TV, Quentin Wilson

stated that modern architecture in Britain ceased after world war two.

Quentin was totally correct. The 1947 Town & Country Planning act curtailed

advancement in design, being hostile to change. Top British eco architects

Brenda and Robert Vale left the UK to practice abroad, disillusioned at a

planning system that firmly restricts advancement.

The 2004 PPS7 planning law, may hopefully pave the way for people to live

back in the countryside and build individual homes on greenfield sites. The

proviso is that it must be an eco house, well designed, modern, with

advanced construction techniques. Taken from the act:

Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas

"11. Very occasionally the exceptional quality and innovative nature of the

design of a proposed, isolated new house may provide this special

justification for granting planning permission. Such a design should be

truly outstanding and ground-breaking, for example, in its use of materials,

methods of construction or its contribution to protecting and enhancing the

environment, so helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural

areas. The value of such a building will be found in its reflection of the

highest standards in contemporary architecture, the significant enhancement

of its immediate setting and its sensitivity to the defining characteristics

of the local area."

The PPS7 law, which on paper actively encourages advanced eco construction,

is a positive step. If PPS7 is implemented anything like the previous PPG7,

Gummers law, which permitted building houses in the countryside, then hope

is lost rendering this law a cosmetic exercise. Approximately 100 houses

were built in the countryside under Gummers law from 1997 to 2004, a figure

is so low not worth considering. Theoretically you could build, however the

planners would block proposals at every angle and opportunity rendering the

law virtually useless.

SOLUTIONS

1. Nationalise Land

2. Redistribute Land.

3. Land Value Tax

1. NATIONALISE LAND

In theory, the Queen, the state, owns all the land in the UK. A nation

state has sovereignty over its own territory. In short, it owns all the

land. So how can individual people own its land too? Sounds like horse

trading. A workaround was to grant an infinite lease on the land, the

title, and the ability to sell on the lease. Effectively this is land

ownership by individuals or organisations.

For the state to take direct control of land would be a difficult task to

undertake. It would not be generally accepted by the people, although they

own it anyhow. Compensation would be demanded by landowners. Compensating

large landowners would be akin to compensating slave traders when slavery

was abolished; as the British government did. The concept of "land

ownership" has been in the western psyche for hundreds of years, and

redirecting their mindset would be difficult and lengthy.

Nationalising land would mean some form of lease back arrangement, which the

government would receive rents. Of course, a relaxed planning system must

accompany such nationalisation, to allow people to freely live on the land.

2. REDISTRIBUTE LAND.

Most major western nations have re-distributed land having laws preventing

large areas of land being in the hands of a few people. These countries

generally have a higher quality of life than the UK because of their

sensible land laws. The British government started the ball rolling in the

late 1800s to re-distribute land in Ireland. It was accomplished in 2000

with the Irish Land Commission being disbanded completing the task. The

land had to be bought from the larger landowners, none was confiscated.

Land re-distribution in Ireland has been attributed as one of the platforms

of its economic success. Large landowners were a direct cause of the Irish

famine, which eventually resulted in the Irish rebellion. Land being in the

hands of a few is not ideal from many aspects.

The British government is to pay for land re-distribution in Zimbabwe -

using British taxpayers money. The British government can re-distribute

land elsewhere in the world, but fails to do so in its own backyard. A

backyard screaming out for land and planning reform.

In 1945 the USA assessed Japan and how it should cope with the future. They

assessed that land ownership was a major obstacle, being in the hands of a

few people. To great effect land re-distribution was forced on the

Japanese, being attributed as one of the keystones of their post war

economic miracle.

Land re-distribution is effective. It may mean large landowners will have

to sell parts of their estates, with laws capping land ownership levels. Of

course, a relaxed planning system must accompany such re-distribution, to

allow people to freely live on the land.

3. LAND VALUE TAX (LVT)

Henry George, an American, the man who devised LVT, initially proposed

government ownership of all land, as the people owned it anyhow. Getting it

across and accepted would have been virtually impossible. If you say,

redistribute land, people cry "communism, taking away from me what is mine".

Henry George realised that people will not accept that you cannot own land.

It is in the western worlds, especially the Anglo Saxon, psyche. That is

where LVT excels. Own land by all means, but if you own half of Scotland

just to shoot birds on, tax will be due on that land, which currently is not

the case. LVT will force large landowners to sell land and not hoard it.

It will also encourage them to make productive use of the land; if they

cannot then they sell it to someone who can make productive use of it.

LVT taxes only the "value" of the land, which is based on the market value

of the land. LVT, regards property as the items on the land, not the land

itself. Someone in northern Scotland on one acre will pay very little as

the land is not worth so much. Someone in central London with one acre pays

substantially more.

LVT does not tax a mans labour, and hence his productivity, which the

current system does, holding back advancement.

Currently people's labour and lifestyle is taxed. The more you work, the

more tax you pay. If I build a nice extension to my house so my family can

enjoy and improve their quality of life, the council tax is raised. Totally

ludicrous. There can be two one-acre plots side by side. I want to build

an eight-roomed house for my family to enjoy and the man next door a

two-bedroom bungalow, so he can enjoy the land for gardening. Under the

current system, I pay more than next door in council tax. Under LVT we pay

the same as the bricks on the land is not regarded as taxable, only the land

is. A large house creates jobs in building the structure and ongoing

maintenance, yet the current system suppresses job creation and curtails the

quality of life by penalising people who build larger houses. The word

large is all relevant. A large house in the UK would be an average house in

the USA.

LVT spreads the proceeds of a society's productivity more evenly than at

present. It does not penalise a person's effort to advance.

"Land should be taxed as much as possible, and improvements as little as

possible." - Milton Friedman (economist)

"I have made speeches by the yard on the subject of land-value taxation,

and you know what a supporter I am of that policy." - Winston Churchill

THE WAY FORWARD

Sort out the land and planning systems and many problems that appear

unrelated in British society disappear. It is not a panacea to right all

the country's ills; however it will be a superb base on which to spring

from, as other countries have effectively demonstrated, and right many, many

of the problems of our unfair and uneven society.

A stumbling block to any reform by the general public is that many home

owners perceive that planning and land reform will devalue their homes and

result in negative equity. The country appears obsessed with house price

values. Value is an abstract concept with cash being the reality. In some

areas negative equity may be the case, although some opinion is that this

would not occur. A fund taken from LVT taxes could compensate those who

drop into the trap. As land prices rise with time, negative equity would

cease to be a problem, just a transitional problem from changing from one

system to another.

Clearly the public need to be informed that land, the God given stuff under

their feet, without which we cannot survive, is the major problem in their

own advancement and actually curtails their current living standards and

quality of life. That is the man in the inner city sink estate, the man in

the terraced house, the man in the box semi, the man in the executive home

and the country villager. Once the public is aware and this suppressed

problem becomes an open issue, then the road is clear for land reform no

matter what method is selected. Until then land and land tax reformers are

sailing into the wind. Emphasis must be moved to educate and alert the

average man and how he is directly affected.

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Signs of things to come

Residents of an island estate have voted to stage Scotland’s first “hostile†community buy-out under radical new property laws

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3824282

The typical alarmist tripe response:

But landowners said they would be concerned if the new laws led to a distortion in the land market and Mugabe-style land grabs.

The market is totaly distorted by the vast majority of land being in the hands of a few, with a Draconian Planning system reinforcing the situation. The mention of Mugabe is to create pubic distain towards what is morally and socialy right. Mugabe land grabs are sanctioned by the government there. Is Blair about to order the masses onto the Duke of Westminster acres? A laughable statement.

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  • 442 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% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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