The Guardian’s George Monbiot says the problem behind Britain’s “multiple housing crises” is: “at root, a failure to tax.” Mr Monbiot says that the UK is unusual in that it does not impose land value tax and capital gains tax on principal residences.
He also sees problems with stamp duty, noting that it recoups only a small proportion of the value of homes when “averaged across the years of ownership”, and says it is also “remarkable” that it is imposed on the buyer, not the seller of the property.
Mr Monbiot renews his call for “a kind of bedroom tax for the private sector: owners with two spare bedrooms or more should be subject to higher property taxes”, saying that an under-occupancy tax would encourage people to sell houses that were bigger than they needed to families that could make better use of them, or to divide them up for rent and lodging.
“Help to Buy, less planning control, incentives for landlords – are not intended to accommodate those in greatest need. They accommodate the unjust system that keeps them there”, he concludes.
Source: The Guardian
We say: Mr Monbiot is too modest. His readers would surely wish him to go much further. Surely in this day and age no-one can expect the privilege of owning their home privately merely because they have worked and saved to achieve that? It’s an utterly outdated concept, isn’t it? Far better, surely, to take all land into public ownership and appoint a state commissar to determine where the citizenry shall be permitted to live (with the best properties reserved for members of the Party, of course)? What could possibly be wrong with that?