Michael Meadowcroft outlines the alternative that has been available for more than a hundred years, and Mike Wake asks about the shortfall faced by councils if rates are reduced
Britain’s business leaders are demonstrably the modern Bourbons, forgetting nothing and learning nothing. They permanently complain about the manifest iniquities of business rates, but completely fail to grasp the obvious alternative despite it being regularly set out and available for more than a hundred years (Retailers warn budget will cause ‘unnecessary loss’ of jobs and shops, 27 October).
Very simply – one taxes land, not property. When one reads of property prices rising it is not that bricks and mortar have increased in value but the land. Why? Because they stopped making it aeons ago and its supply is limited. Also, the value of a site is largely dependent on the planning permission it holds, ie the decision of the public authority. The value of my house in Leeds is double what it would be if one applied general inflation rather than land value inflation. Why should I have this potential windfall?