Friday, October 12, 2012

Quantatitive easing of new housing numbers i.e: How to get more houses built

We learn from Camilla Cavendish in The Times 11 Oct 2012 that David Cameron has a fury about nimbys in his own party 'who keep young families off the housing ladder'. Nimbies ('Not In My Back Yard')   are people who block planning applications near them that would release land for housing. However the most powerful group of people who are furious about nimbies are landowners who want to develop their land and take the massive gain (the 'free lunch' gain)  given by grant of planning permission for housing. I heard of a case about a piece of back garden land in the 1990's that might have sold for £2,000 to a neighbour as a garden extension but which actually sold for £40,000 with planning for a bungalow. 

Let us assume that David Cameron in his fury has no hidden agenda about developing his own or family land and is solely concerned about helping first time house buyers. He need go no further than Vince Cable who, as reported on the earlier blogpost , is set to achieve the 'proper taxation of' .

To regularly tax land on its value (made electorally possible by cutting income tax and other taxes), will achieve a quantitative jump in housing development and mostly on existing brownfield sites thus preserving some green fields that nimbys are understandbly keen to keep beyond their boundary fences. David Cameron has coined a new 'Aspiration Nation' tag for his Conservative party and wants the privileges he enjoys to come to all. A noble thought indeed. Will it be expedited for aspirational home owners through this obvious measure of taxing land values? The New Statesman 21-27 Sept 2012 'Aid for Aristocrats' shows how our major land owning families are coining in subsidies through their land holdings. NS Editor Jason Cowley and George Eaton also show in the article how the average floor space of newly built homes for the UK is 55% that of Danish homes and 67% of French ones.  

We clearly have a blind spot in the UK  in the way we fail to have a proper debate about land.  Thus the nation remains divided, aspirations are blocked for the aspirational and privileges are kept by the privileged. But both Miliband's 'One Nation' politics and Cameron's 'Aspiration Nation' politics, could usefully achieve something of their vision if we had a half decent land policy.
Posted: Charles Bazlinton author The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom

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