‘Land for the Many’ – Council Tax Mark II not a ‘Garden Tax’

Land for the Many

We recommend that a Labour government replace the regressive and unpopular council tax with a progressive property tax based on contemporary property values.
Unlike council tax, this tax would be payable by owners, not tenants. This would result in significant administrative savings, lower levels of arrears and less court action.
Unlike council tax, the progressive property tax rate would be based on regularly updated property values

Express

 

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire told The Daily Telegraph the proposals from Mr Corbyn were “deeply damaging”….

“This tax bombshell for families would mean family homes with gardens paying far more and higher taxes on pensioners by abolishing the single person discount.”

But apart from on development land this is not proposing a land tax, which is sometimes criticised as a garden tax.  It is the same structure as the council tax with changes to exemptions, multipliers and as originally intended by Hesiltine regular property revaluations, which Pickles scrapped.  A land tax by contrast take the value of the house on a garden off the valuation, only valuing the land based on what you would get permission for.  You can criticise the banding, exemptions, multipliers and rates.  But you cant criticoise it as a garden tax, indeed many would criticise it as not going far enough towards a land tax.  Brokenshire’s criticisms are strange as it if defending a tax based on old out of date property values, which is indefensible.  That valuation in and of itself does not set the level of tax, that is down to individual local authorities setting tax levels for each band.  A more valid, the only valid, criticism would be on the proportion of the tax base to come from property. But you could just as seriously call it an ensuite loo tax as there prevalence is simply correlated with property prices as are gardens.

It would have been wiser for the report to concentrate on the structure of property taxation not its level, a matter solely under the power of a Chancellor, so we could have a serious debate about the need for regular valuation.