Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Greens’ Land Value Tax will hit pensioners, single parents and students hard #sp11

The Greens, who launched their manifesto today, have spent the campaign so far telling us all that if they were in power, there just wouldn’t be any cuts. Any cuts in services are a great wickedness that would never happen if they ruled the world.

Given that even Patrick Harvie can’t make money grow on trees, there is only one other possible way this can happen. To raise more in tax. The first part of their plans is to raise income tax for us all by half a percent. How are they going to do that when we aren’t going to have the tax raising powers for most of this coming Parliament thanks to  John Swinney letting the power lapse without telling us?

They also propose a Land Value Tax which they say will basically give us everything we could ever wish for which won’t affect ordinary people because the it’ll be the rich who will suffer. What’s not to love about that? Well, I know that there are many Liberal Democrats who think that a Land Value Tax is a good idea and they may be right. However, the Greens’ proposals show that their variant of LVT could well cause problems for the most vulnerable.

     They say they will raise £1bn more in tax and 85% of households will be better off.  How can that be when the Greens intend to abolish the single person discount for Council Tax meaning that many more households will be worse off.  Bear in mind that, yes, some single person households are young, affluent professionals, but many more are struggling single parents.

     They are talking about some properties attracting 5 times the level of Council Tax in Land Value Taxation. Presumably they mean in city centres. So what happens if you are a student in Marchmont, or you are not particularly well off? You’ll end up with a tax hike which will force you out of the city, leaving city centres as the preserve of the very rich.

      Single pensioners will be hit hard: a “retired person living alone in a big house…would be allowed to put payment off by amortising the cost and securing it against the house value”.  So, money that they would have now to pay for things that they need to make their lives independent and comfortable would be handed over in tax instead?

      People renting will also be hit and they won’t be helped by the Greens who take an extreme free-market view of rents: “rents may well increase…but the rental market is a function of supply and demand, however, and rents cannot increase to a level where people cannot afford them”. That is bad news, once again, for less well-off people and students in city centres.  I spent four years listening to the terrible problems people faced because of a lack of affordable housing. Current private sector rents are not affordable for less well off families. They can barely afford to pay them and have even a basic standard of  living. Their plight will be very much worse unless Patrick Harvie can somehow conjure up, in Fife alone, another 12,000 affordable homes.

AlAll of the above was written this morning at around 7:30. I might have known that Jeremy Purvis, who is a smart boy after all, would notice the same thing. He said today:
"People on low and middle incomes will pay more under the Greens. "The Green Party have admitted their plans for Land Value Tax will hit students, single people and pensioners. "Their income tax increase will be paid by pensioners and the low paid." 


cynicalHighlander said...

thanks to John Swinney letting the power lapse without telling us?

Gawd your as bad as Labour peddling this lie which your party in cahoots with Labour let it lapse but truth and both of your houses are opposites.

Anonymous said...

"How are they going to do that when we aren’t going to have the tax raising powers for most of this coming Parliament"

Check the manifesto. It is clearly stated that this part starts in 2013.

As for the rest, see my blog post at http://www.setindarkness.org/2011/04/19/greens-land-value-tax-and-students/

please don't dismiss LVT out of hand because there is an election on. I know a lot of LibDems are in favour of it.

Unknown said...

Paul, I'm not going to support any raising in taxes for those on low incomes who really are suffering enough at the moment. I know some Lib Dems like it, but in this form, it hits students, pensioners and single parents. No thanks.

CH, no getting away from the fact that John Swinney, much as I love him, mucked up big time on this one. He should have told Parliament what was going on.

cynicalHighlander said...

Why didn't Tavish and Jack (lose track of leaders) not tell the people that they let it lapse under their watch before the SNP gained power? That's dishonest no matter what spin one puts on it.

Anonymous said...

Unless a student owns land, they won't be paying the tax.

Renting is related to supply and demand, not taxes.

Anonymous said...

"They are talking about some properties attracting 5 times the level of Council Tax in Land Value Taxation"
It's a LAND value tax, not a property tax. If we have two properties occupying the same amount of land in Marchmont, one a single dwelling, the other a block of flats they are each liable for the same amount of tax, regardless of how many occupiers each has.
Check out http://www.landvaluetax.org


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