As a long-time supporter of land value taxation (LVT), it’s encouraging finally to see such positive coverage of this neglected idea in the mainstream press. For many years, those advocates of LVT brave enough to put their heads above the parapet were routinely subject to derision. Mention the American economist who did so much to popularise the idea in the 19th century and the usual response was, “Henry George, he was mad wasn’t he?”
Not so mad, it now seems. As well as several recent Guardian articles, the Times, the FT and the Spectator have all recently carried pieces supportive of LVT. Politicians have begun to take note too. While Vince Cable and Chris Huhne have chosen to hide their LVT credentials since joining the government, Andy Burnham has made it a key plank of his vision for future Labour party policy.
Burnham’s claim that LVT is a “true Labour” policy may rankle with some, but it was a Labour chancellor, Philip Snowden, who made the last abortive attempt to get onto the statute books in his 1931 budget. And from a social justice point of view, Labour would seem to offer LVT a natural home.